Estonia's fight against the coronavirus pandemic has led to a more centralized approach to how the country's hospitals are organized. Estonia has been divided in to two regions, north and south, centered on Tallinn and Tartu respectively, by order of the head of emergency medicine, Dr. Arkady Popov, who took on the role from March 25.
Professor Peep Talving, chief doctor at PERH, heads up the northern team, with Agris Peed, PERH board chair, and Katrin Luts, Tallinn Children's Hospital (Tallinna Lastehaigla) chair, backing him up as needed.
The southern medical staff is led by Marek Seer and Professor Joel Starkopf.
Popov and Talving's personnel are currently mapping the weak points in the medical system, which they estimate as including a need for personal protective equipment, ventilation equipment, beds, as well as procedural in-patient routes and procedures as well as staff themselves.
"In a crisis situation, this type of management, I.e. subordinating all hospitals to regional central hospitals, is the only solution, sine the latter have the requisite expertise, resources and staff," Dr. Popov said.
"They are now well equipped to receive infected patients - special departments, dedicated hospital admission in-patient routes, as well as isolation wards – things which should happen in any hospital when there is a coronavirus pandemic."
Popov added that it is clear the number of patients in Estonia is going to increase.
"From a medical point of view, we are currently in a state of war, and Estonian medical personnel across Estonia must be ready for battle, which is expected to reach its peak a week-and-a-half from now," Popov said.
Cooperation between hospitals in the regions is centrally coordinated by the Northern Medical Service, and necessary decisions are made taking into account the overall picture of Estonia.
On Saaremaa, the most severely affected region so far, and Hiiumaa, the capacity has been supported as needed, PERH said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte