No infections detected among defense force members at field hospital

The field hospital outside Kuressaare Hospital.
The field hospital outside Kuressaare Hospital. Source: Margus Muld/ERR

The Defense Forces Field Hospital established at Kuressaare Hospital, which packed up this week, provided treatment to 15 patients for four weeks without any infections of COVID-19 detected among its employees.

No cases of the disease were detected among the 18 members of the defense forces and 30 civilians working in the field hospital, although the coronavirus was detected in nearly 100 employees of the staff of the nearby Kuressaare Hospital. 

The commander of the field hospital, Junior Lieutenant Martin Lember, told ERR that he has not known any of this staff to be infected.

It cannot be said that infection control measures were implemented more strictly in the field hospital than in Kuressaare hospital, but the requirements for treatment established by the Health Board were followed in great detail, said Lember.

Lember said the work of the field hospital confirmed the trained conscripts, together with the active military and civilian medical staff, are able to perform their tasks with the utmost professionalism.

The field hospital, which started operating at the beginning of April, was established by the Health Board to coordinate the cooperation between Kuressaare Hospital and the Defense Forces Field Hospital. 

It supported the operation of the medical service of Kuressaare Hospital and the work of the field hospital. As the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia has decreased, the Health Board decided to close the field hospital supporting Kuressaare Hospital and on Tuesday the hospital was packed and taken back to the mainland.

Until now, the Defense Forces Hospital has only been used for exercises, for the first time real patients also received treatment there.

The island of Saaremaa became the epicenter of Estonia's outbreak and has more cases per capita than anywhere else in Estonia. As of Thursday, 542 cases have been diagnosed in Saare County, which includes western islands Saaremaa and Muhu. The infection rate per 10,000 people is 163.71 compared to Harju County's 9.83. Harju County, which includes Tallinn and is the most populated region in Estonia, currently has 588 cases.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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