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Health Board combating coronavirus according to regional spread patterns

Ragnar Vaiknemets, chief of the Health Board's crisis staff.
Ragnar Vaiknemets, chief of the Health Board's crisis staff. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

With its activities, the Health Board is currently focusing on increasing its resistance capability in crisis areas as well as preventing individual cases from spreading the coronavirus further.

"Our primary message and focus is on ensuring emergency assistance throughout Estonia, but first and foremost we are focusing on regions [where the virus is] widespread — Saaremaa, Võru County and Harju County," Health Board crisis staff chief Ragnar Vaiknemets said at a press conference on Saturday. "This means that we will [expand] capability there, first and foremost intensive care beds, but will also generally strengthen the continuity of emergency care to ensure that these regional hospitals can cope with the growth that we are fearing."

Vaiknemets explained that the number of positive coronavirus tests and the number of people being hospitalized are both continuing to grow, as also forecast by the Health Board.

"Our other focus, however, will be addressing those regions where the infection is not yet widespread in order to prevent it," he continued. The Health Board's regional departments are working to this end, and in these regions, each confirmed case of the coronavirus disease is handled individually, including figuring out who the infected person may have come in contact with, and additional isolation guidelines are implemented.

The crisis staff chief stressed that the number of coronavirus hospitalizations is expected to increase in mid-April and asked people not to let their guard down, but rather continue adhering to 2+2 requirements, following hygiene requirements and avoiding close contact with the elderly.

Aab: Hospitals have two-week supply

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center), who is responsible for obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE)  for the state, said at Saturday's press conference that with the arrival of this week's shipments, all hospitals in Estonia are guaranteed at least a week's supply, or up to a two-week supply, adding that more shipments are expected within the next few days.

The minister also called on the public to act reasonably when so-called surgical masks reach pharmacies for sale next week.

"I am hoping that masks will be available for sale at pharmacies in the second half of next week, hopefully at a cost of less than €1 each," Aab said. "This isn't the last batch coming to pharmacies; please be reasonable, there is no need to buy too many."

According to Aab and Vaiknemets, it is a good idea to wear a surgical mask if someone is exhibiting symptoms and is coming in close contact with other people; the mask serves as a barrier to droplets being sprayed when coughing or sneezing.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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