With the number of people hospitalized due to the coronavirus growing, Estonian medical structures are preparing for battle, chief of the emergency department at the Health Board Arkadi Popov said at a press conference on Monday.
As of Monday morning, 79 patients have been hospitalized in Estonia due to the coronavirus, with 13 people in intensive care.
"We know that some patients might be in serious condition. Our medical structures are preparing for battle. Time will tell when this battle occurs, but we can take into account that in a week or a week and a half we might be in a position where we have to very seriously concentrate on providing healthcare and hospital care. The burden will become heavier," he said.
Popov visited both Kuressaare and Rakvere hospitals during the weekend and while he said that everything is on a high level at the latter; in Kuressaare, certain aspects, such as the capabilities of providing oxygen therapy, need to be improved.
Different scenarios regarding Saaremaa have been under discussion with the crisis management committee and local rescue teams. "We have approached the regular Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) to make ready a field hospital at Saaremaa. We are hoping this can be accomplished during the week," Popov said.
He added that the field hospital will be set up by Kuressaare Hospital, making it a part of the structure. "There will be up to 20 hospital beds for patients in intensive care, equipped with ventilators, breathing apparatuses. We have oxygen concentrators and we plan to employ an anesthesiologist, an internist, a general practitioner, an infectious diseases specialist and nurses," he said.
According to Popov, the field hospital will be composed of containers and tents and will be a logistical challenge for all involved. "The EDF is highly competent, this field hospital has been used during various exercises," he added.
Saaremaa has by far the highest per capita rate of coronavirus at 77.93 per 10,000 inhabitants at the time of writing, according to Health Board (Terviseamet) data.
Editor: Anders Nõmm