PPE reserves significantly higher now than before pandemic

Personal protective equipment arrives from China.
Personal protective equipment arrives from China. Source: Health Board.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a keyword, which will remind everyone of the coronavirus. Compared to the most critical times of the pandemic, the amount of supplies that are in reserves and ready to be used is significantly higher than it was before the pandemic.

The public offices and state reserves hold enough protective masks to last for more than a month, Minister of State Jaak Aab (Center) told ERR on Monday.

"At the moment they are not used so much, so barring a new outbreak, the reserves will likely last far longer. Well, let's hope that doesn't happen, but we're going to be ready regardless," Aab said.

Agris Koppel, head of health system development department at the Ministry of Social Affairs, confirmed the state of PPE reserves and protective masks in health care institutions is significantly better than in March. With the existing equipment, health care can manage for a little over a month. A lot of work has been done over the last few weeks to ensure at least 30 days' worth of protective masks.

"The best example is that a worker at one of the health care institutions told us a week ago to stop sending masks because they don't have anywhere to put them," Koppel said.

Marek Seer, acting chairman of the managegment board of University of Tartu Hospital said that even though reserves should last them a month and a half, they have to be continually supplemented because masks are used more often than during the height of the emergency situation.

"When we were in the emergency situation, planned treatments were suspended and we had no patients. But today, when the hospital is working at full capacity, we use more masks," Seer said.

Tartu University Hospital adds to its reserves both separately and in cooperation with the state.

Aab said there will also be a public procurement announced soon. This will be international and through the procurement, at least a months' worth of PPE will be supplied to every public institution in the country, from local governments to health care.

"It is a recommendation that all institutions must have 30 days worth of PPE equipment in reserve. For some we can prescribe it and for some we can recommend it. And then us, my team, we'll acquire another months' worth of equipment in our central state reserves. Meaning we will store some in our state reserves, to be ready to supplement institutions, if necessary," Aab explained.

The above mentioned procurement of PPE should arrive in the second half of July.

Pharma wholesaler Tamro Eesti Chief Executive Tanel Kuusmann said PPE reserves are sufficient from a wholesale perspective as well and it seems as if availability is also ensured.

Kuusmann acknowledged that compared to a month ago, demand for PPE among clients is decreasing.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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