A new COVID-19 ward has been opened at Kuressaare Hospital after a person returned to the island of Saaremaa who had contracted coronavirus from a mainland hospital and then infected seven patients and several members of staff.
"Unfortunately, the peaceful time for Kuressaare Hospital seems to have ended with Christmas," Kuressaare Hospital management board member Märt Kõlli told regional daily newspaper Saarte Hääl and said a patient treated at a mainland hospital had been diagnosed with coronavirus on December 23. The entire department where the infected person had been in treatment was then quarantined at Kuressaare Hospital.
"The former primary internal medicine department became a COVID-19 unit," Kõlli said, adding that the COVID-19 department was forced to open a little earlier than the planned date of December 29. One week after the first positive coronavirus diagnosis, other patients in the ward were tested. On December 31, it was revealed that seven more people had been infected.
Member of the hospital's management board and chief medical officer Edward Laane said: "At the end of the isolation period on January 10, we hope to start referring patients home depending on their condition."
One infected person was also brought to the COVID-19 ward of Kuressaare Hospital from the mainland. "We are also obliged to receive coronavirus patients from the mainland," Kõlli said. "Presumably, they have links to Saaremaa."
Coronavirus patients in Saaremaa are no longer taken to mainland hospitals for treatment as they were in the spring.
The island was the epicenter of infections in the first coronavirus wave in spring, with rates far outstripping the rest of the country. This led to three COVID-19 wards being set up at Kuressaare Hospital, along with an Estonian Defense Forces field hospital.
However, from late spring numbers stabilized and even flatlined, and the island typically reports single figures in its new daily cases currently listed by the Health Board.
Editor: Roberta Vaino