Health Board short on PPE and medicine for possible second wave of COVID-19 ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Face mask.
Face mask. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Health Board's (Terviseamet) current supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medicine is not enough to last a month in case of the second wave of COVID-19. If PPE is to be acquired in the autumn, medicine will not be resupplied before 2021.

The government has previously said that starting from autumn, a 1+1 rule of coronavirus management will be applied if an institution has experienced cases of COVID-19. This means that the institution has to manage the first month with their own equipment, the state will support them starting in the second month, if necessary.

Andras Banyasz, chief specialist of Emergency Medicine of Health Board, said the current supply of equipment and medicine is not enough.

Banyasz said: "The Health Board manages the current state supply of healthcare equipment and it would not last a month. The Ministry of Finance has started to collect PPE nationally, that equipment will arrive."

The same can be said for medicine for emergency situations. But those can not be acquired before the new year.

Banyasz said: "We have not been allocated resources to acquire medicine, but we will keep applying for it and there's a chance next year, that we can resupply on medicine."

ERR News wrote on July 7 that Estonia has ordered 400 doses of an antiviral drug called remdesivir through a joint European Union procurement.

Former Health Board Director General Merike Jürilo said in May that the institution would need funding to staff some 20 additional positions in various fields of the Health Board's activities. Jürilo, along with two other employees have left, but no additional workforce has been hired yet.

Banyasz said the Health Board has asked for resources to hire analysts. "Truthfully, we are indeed missing about 20 people to be prepared for any next crises. We need more analysts so we could efficiently analyse data as we go. That proposal awaits government's response and approval."

Based on the infection rate, travelers from Sweden, Portugal, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Montenegro and Serbia must self-isolate for 14 days when entering Estonia.

Banyasz said there is no direct surveillance conducted, self-isolation is based on trust and is volunatry. "The goal of it is to stop the spread domestically."

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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