Tartu University Hospital is limiting scheduled treatment in order to free up resources amid rising coronavirus rates there.
The hospital's board made the decision at the beginning of the month, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
Board member Andres Kotsar told ERR that: "New patients with unavoidable concerns can still turn to the emergency room or their family doctor, and patients who are in line for operative treatment will still be treated, but as of now, given the limitations to scheduled treatments, these will be reorganized and patients will be contacted individually."
COVID-19 rates in Tartu County have started to rise significantly recently, heading towards figures consistently put in by Harju and Ida-Viru counties.
Kotsar added that: "Each specialist department has developed its own criteria, by which patient dates can be postponed somewhat; those patients needing immediate treatment can do so, but those whom postponement is not life-threatening will see that."
Two COVID-19 wards have already been opened at the hospital, one of which has seen all 19 beds filled. A third ward has been added with 11 beds.
Kotsar added that consideration needed to be given to the fact that coronavirus patients may often end up staying longer in hospital than other patients – up to twice the usual average seven days.
The hospital's crisis committee is meeting every two or three days to take a fresh look at the situation, possibly rising to daily meetings where needed.
Kotsar added that public behavior in adhering to restrictions was also key in being able to cope with the situation going forward.
Scheduled treatments as a whole were halted during the initial spring coronavirus wave in hospitals and also at dental surgeries.
Editor: Andrew Whyte