Estonian hospitals have 333 ventilators with an additional 225 on their way, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Saturday. He also said patients in critical condition would not be treated in Saaremaa but on the mainland.
Kiik noted that while the level and function of these 333 devices varies, all of them can be used to assist coronavirus patients.
"They are currently needed by ten patients, which means that we are still far from hitting our resource limit. We must be prepared, however, for the darker scenario, according to which the number of people in need of intensive care may reach hundreds," Kiik said.
Estonia is about to acquire 75 more ventilators as a part of a European Union joint procurement, and 150 more devices will be made available by a decision of the government, he noted.
The BBC explained why ventilators are needed for patients with COVID-19. "For patients with the worst effects of the infection, a ventilator offers the best chance of survival. A ventilator takes over the body's breathing process when a disease has caused the lungs to fail. This gives the patient time to fight off the infection and recover."
The World Health Organization said approximately 80 percent of people with Covid-19 - the disease caused by coronavirus - recover without needing hospital treatment.
Critically ill coronavirus patients to be transported from Saaremaa to mainland
Coronavirus patients in critical condition in Kuressaare Hospital on the largest western island Saaremaa will be transported to a hospital in mainland Estonia, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said on Saturday.
Kiik said that if the number of coronavirus infections should surge in Saaremaa and the 147 beds at Kuressaare Hospital should prove insufficient for treatment, patients with milder symptoms, too, may be brought to the mainland.
The minister noted that it should be taken into consideration that Kuressaare Hospital will also need to provide medical care to other patients, so the hospital cannot be reserved for coronavirus treatment alone.
Stricter movement restrictions will be introduced in the municipalities of Saaremaa and Muhu prohibiting leaving one's home without urgent need, Kiik said.
A total of 679 people had been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Estonia as of Sunday morning with 39 new cases registered during the past 24 hours.
View the latest data here.
Editor: Helen Wright