A South Estonian hospital has asked for a little over €4 million from the state, in order to make its facilities more resistant to potential coronavirus outbreaks.
The South Estonia Hospital (Lõuna-Eesti Haigla) in Võru says that the €4.3 requested million is also needed to boost the number of isolation wards, make the hospital more energy-efficient, and upgrade the Emergency Medicine Department (EMO) department.
The development would also make the hospital better suited to avoiding other infectious diseases, not only the coronavirus, whereas as things stand only part-separation has been possible between those infected and those not, the hospital says.
"Due to the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, it is necessary to make the hospital more infection-resistant, ie. to increase the number of isolation wards and to functionally reshape the work of the EMO, as well as intra-hospital patient movement," said hospital director Arvi Vask .
Vask says that the hospital needs to renovate its largest, 40-bed internal medicine department, which is now operating at full capacity and has an average year-round bed occupancy rate of 95 percent.
At least 20 more isolated beds would be needed, as well as upgrading ventilation systems and other projects needed to improve medical hygiene.
An extension to the EMO would include a gallery linking it to lifts, which would help isolate patients with suspected infections.
Upgrading the EMO alone would cost over €1 million, Vask said.
The hospital has also commissioned an energy saving audit, the report of which will be completed in November 2020 with proposals.
"This audit will provide input for energy saving investments. At the moment, the final cost cannot be specified, but about €1.0 million can be taken into account. In total, the hospital needs to invest about €4.32 million-"
South Estonia Hospital is the largest health care institution in southeastern Estonia, and the only hospital in the region to provide maternity care and other medical care in four specialities 24/7, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
It also boasts a 24/7 readiness laboratory, radiology department and other facilities.
Võru town has a population of around 12,000, and the county about 34,000, making it one of the most sparsely populated regions of the country.
The adjacent counties of Valga and Põlva have similar-sized populations.
Võru County is also currently the second hardest-hit by COVID-19 rates, with a rate of 113 per 100,000 recorded this week, far in excess of the national average of 51.47 per 100,000.
Whether the money requested, if granted, would come from the 2021 state budget currently being debated at the Riigikogu, or from other sources, was not reported.
Editor: Andrew Whyte