While the workload at Kuressaare Hospital on the island of Saaremaa, which is not only treating coronavirus patients but has also suffered a bout of infection among its staff, is not particularly high right now, that is likely set to change soon, the hospital's treatment manager, Edward Laane, said.
The past few days at the island's only major hospital have been quite calm, with only two patients were admitted on Thursday.
"We haven't had a shortage of places yet," Laane told ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Thursday.
"While we stated in the morning that there were 22 people in the hospital, one has since been discharged and two more have been admitted. There are currently three patients in the so-called 'sorting department'. But the burden on the hospital is not very big," he added, even though there are some patients in a critical condition at the hospital.
As of Thursday evening, 42 Kuressaare Hospital staff had also been confirmed COVID-19 positive.
Laane said this figure does not refer to the number of people currently infected, but all those who have been diagnosed with coronavirus over the past three weeks, some of whom have recovered, including two doctors who have since returned to work.
More test results are to be announced on Friday, when a more precise number of infected personnel will be disclosed, he said, as well as a clearer picture of the staffing situation being revealed.
"We have to stand firm. I have talked to the personnel manager, the nursing manager and the leading doctors, and there is a critical level of staffing that we should have. If the results of sentence testing become clear tomorrow, then maybe that will tell another story."
'Help Saaremaa' campaign starts Friday.
Laane noted doctors and nurses from other parts of the country had come to Kuressaare hospital to help out.
ERR's ETV and Vikerraadio channels are to broadcast an "Aitame Saaremaa" (English: "Let's help Saaremaa") program, which aims to raise money for Kuressaare Hospital in its fight with the virus.
This year's the Blue Flower campaign is also focusing on Kuressaare Hospital. Two respirators have already been purchased using donated funds so far, Laane said.
While the hospital's workload may not be very high yet, this is likely to change next week, when a large increase in the number of coronary patients is forecast, hence preparations, including setting up a third isolated coronavirus ward and the arrival of an Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) field hospital, which doesn't have any patients yet, this week, have been done ahead of time.
Saaremaa has by far the highest per capita rate of coronavirus in Estonia at 94.45 cases per 10,000 inhabitants, compared with 16.77 per 10,000 in Võru County, the next-most affected region, and 4.78 per 10,000 in Harju County and Tallinn.
Editor: Andrew Whyte