Hospitals predict patient capacity, staffing problems by start of 2021

PERH staff and facilities during the emergency situation.
PERH staff and facilities during the emergency situation. Source: Aivar Kullamaa/PERH

Managers of Estonia's largest hospitals do not believe people will follow social distancing rules during the Christmas holidays and think there will be an increase of people admitted to hospital which will cause cancellations for scheduled treatment at the start of 2021. There are also growing concerns about coronavirus spreading among hospital staff.

There are currently 66 coronarvirus patients in treatment at Tallinn's North Estonia Medical Center (PERH), nine are in intensive care and six are using ventilators.

Chairman of the Board of Tallinn's North Estonia Medical Center (PERH) Agris Peedu told ERR the holidays will lead to an increase in coronavirus patients in hospitals. 

"Researchers' calculations have also proved very accurate for patients in need of hospital treatment. There are currently 362 people in hospital. We expect more people by Christmas and New Year's Eve. I have no doubt that we will be treating 500 Covid patients at the beginning of the year," said Peedu.

He said if this is the case additional restrictions will have to be introduced as hospitals will be reaching their limits.

Peedu said 43 employees have tested positive for coronavirus and 73 close contacts are in quarantine. He said so many medical staff being sick or in quarantine is worrying and significantly affects the work of the hospital by creating extra work other employees.

Chairman of the Board of East Tallinn Central Hospital Ralf Allikvee told ERR there are currently approximately 150 members of staff not working which includes 60 who have tested positive for coronavirus.

He said the hospital can cope at the moment but things are expected to reach a critical level.

Allikvee said there are currently approximately 60 coronavirus patients in the hospital they are almost at capacity as there is only space to treat 63 patients with coronavirus.

He gave several recommendations about how to celebrate the holidays safely. "In the family circle, masks only, disinfecting hands, [keeping] distance and the 2+2 rule," Allikvee said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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