Care homes haven´t ventured to take in any new residents lately, because of the fear of the coronavirus, which has made the already long waiting queues even longer. Care homes are primarily making preparations for the new patients who have to stay in quarantine for two weeks.
Since March, the Südamekodu care homes didn´t take any new patients in the five places they are active in, in an effort to to avoid the virus that way. Exceptions were made for those who signed a contract earlier, or were in a need of hospital care, ETV show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported Tuesday.
"Considering that most care homes haven´t accepted any new patients for two months, it is understandable that the queues are long, because the need for care hasn´t disappeared during the pandemic," Manager of the Südamekodu chain Martin Kukk said.
When the home will start taking in new patients, Kukk couldn´t say. All new residents will be tested for coronavirus, and would-be residents need to take into account the two-week-long quarantine in their rooms.
Tallinn Social Welfare and Health Care (Tallinna sotsiaal- ja tervishoiuamet) has had to find care homes for seven people in April, but only a few of the homes could keep the newcomers under quarantine conditions at that time.
The Iru care home, belonging to the municipality, just east of Tallinn, didn´t take on any patients during the emergency situation, March 12-May 17, because restrictions were established to prevent the virus even before the emergency situation was declared.
Raimo Saad, the Head of the Tallinn social welfare and care board, said that Iru care home has more than 300 client places, and considering its size, it had not been possible to risk not taking all measures to limit the spread of the virus. From this week, Iru is ready to accept new patients again, however, and five new residents are due to move there shortly.
Sadi commented that during the emergency situation in Tallinn, the demand for care home places decreased. "Likely, either the emergency situation or the incidents in the care homes have made people a little afraid to go to the care home," he said.
Despite the precautions, the coronavirus reached the Südamekodu homes in Kuressaare, on Saaremaa, and Lihula, in western Estonia. Kukk said that this was partly inevitable. 20 patients were infected in Saaremaa and 13 in Lihula.
Restrictions have remained in force in Lihula beyond the end of the emergency situation, and sports halls, schools, and libraries will remain closed, Lääne Elu reports (link in Estonian).
Editor: Roberta Vaino