Models forecasting the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) show that 350 people will be in hospital by Christmas in a positive scenario and 500 in a bad scenario.
Speaking to ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Friday, TalTech researcher Mario Kadastik, who has been modeling coronavirus tends, said: "The positive scenario is that we will not go up a lot from the current level. If we're at 275 inpatients [now], we could be between 300-350. The negative is 400-500."
He said as the infection rate, known as R, is still above one this means the spread of the virus is still increasing in the population and it will do so until it falls below one.
"If the infection factor R remains more than one, the hospital system will break," he said. "The question is whether it will break in mid-December, late December or early January."
It has previously been said by health experts that Estonia has enough capacity in hospitals to admit between 350-450 patients with coronavirus.
A downward trend cannot yet be observed, he said, pointing out that Estonia set a new record high - 544 in a single day - for coronavirus cases this week. This is despite new regulations making wearing a mask mandatory and the reintroduction of the 2+2 social distancing rules.
Kadastik said an important step people can take it to avoid meeting new people: "My advice is to avoid appointments whenever possible. It should be ruled out that people from all over the city or that the whole family should come together. Meetings with more people than you come into contact with on a daily basis should be avoided whenever possible at all times. We are relatively close to one with the infection rate [R]. Not much is needed for it to come down."
He added: "No one will be very happy that they are the one who passed on this virus to their grandparents [at Chirstmas]."
One good thing which has been observed is that hospitals stays for many patients admitted with coronavirus have become shorter, Kadastik said.
Editor: Helen Wright