Health Board does not see hospitals full of COVID-19 patients any time soon

Hospital bed.
Hospital bed. Source: Andres Tennus, University of Tartu

The Health Board (Terviseamet) assesses that hospital resources relating to COVID-19 treatment will not be depleted any time soon, as patients' treatment durations in hospital have fallen since spring, when the pandemic started.

As of Friday, 35 people are receiving treatment in hospital for COVID-19, with around 15 of them in West Tallinn Central Hospital.

Imbi Moks, head of the hospital, told ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Thursday that, when compared with the wave in spring, when there were more elderly patients in need of treatment, treatment durations in hospital are now much shorter.

Moks said: "Today is likely an particularly notable day, as we are able to discharge seven patients."

The hospital has the capacity to hold 50 patients in its coronavirus ward. "We have the possibility of extending that to 60 but we must leave room in our infection clinic for other patients because they must also receive treatment," Moks noted.

The total number of available hospital beds for coronavirus-related treatment is currently 79, supplemented by 14 intensive care beds. The number of assisted breathing apparatuses currently stands at more than 300, but an order was put in over the summer, with the intent of raising that number to 400 by year's end. Currently, two patients are under assisted breathing.

Andras Banyasz, chief specialist of the emergency department of the Health Board, said he does not see hospital treatment resources peaking any time soon.

Banyasz said: "Hospitals have done a lot of work over the last six months of training their staff, stockpiling resources and mapping out routes for patients and staff to rule out cross-contamination."

Hospitals have also stockpiled personal protective equipment (PPE), of which the state has a month's worth, according to the Ministry of Finance. "We can say that in addition to the finance ministry's stock, we have about three month's worth in the healthcare system."

He added that the situation in hospitals will come under heavier surveillance if the infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days exceeds 125. But that will also depend on the virus reaching risk groups. As of Friday, that number was 52.07.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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