Coronavirus patients in Tallinn would be referred to the West Tallinn Central Hospital (LTKH) in the event of a second wave of the virus, freeing up another major hospital, the North Estonian Medical Center (PERH) for non-coronavirus-related treatment, including emergencies.
The two hospitals have come to an arrangement which will see PERH used for heart attack or trauma emergencies, and for those in need of neurosurgery, vascular surgery, hematological or oncological care will continue to be treated at our intensive care units, Peep Talving, clinical director at PERH, says.
"If there is no longer a need for isolation wards or intensive care, we won't be creating a large number of beds for stage two intensive care; however, we will create this capability at the LTKH's infectious diseases clinic and support it with our doctors, nurses and devices," he added.
At the peak of the pandemic in spring, PERH, in the residential district of Mustamäe, had to close six wards and redeploy staff to wards dedicated to COVID-19 treatment. Should a second wave hit, the bulk of this work will be conducted by LTKH, on Paldiski mnt west of the city center.
LTKH has an infectious diseases clinic housed in separate facilities from the rest of the hospital, which can treat nearly 100 people, the hospital says. This also allows the hospital's outpatent clinic, and the nearby Pelgulinn maternity hospital (Pelgulinna Sünnitusmaja) to continue to function in a potential second wave.
The other major Tallinn hospital, the East Tallinn Central Hospital (ITKH) says it will keep a building aside for non-coronavirus purposes, but is awaiting a government decision.
Tartu University hospital says that a separate infectious diseases clinic for South Estonia is not on the cards, with coronavirus patients sent to Tartu and Ida-Viru central hospitals where needed.
At the peak of the pandemic, scheduled treatments were put on ice; in the case of Kuressaare Hospital on the island of Saaremaa, by far the hardest-hit region of Estonia at the time, three dedicated COVID-19 intensive care wards were augmented by an Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) field hospital erected in the main hospital's grounds, though in the event this was not used.
Editor: Andrew Whyte