Irja Lutsar: Vaccinating medical personnel reduces hospitals' workloads

Irja Lutsar
Irja Lutsar Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The vaccination of medical personnel has brought relief to hospitals, head of the government's scientific council Irja Lutsar told ERR.

Lutsar explained there have been no big changes to the infection rate but the has been an increase. She highlighted people's behavior as the reason why.

"People have not changed their behavior very much. Since last spring, when a person finds out they are infected with the coronavirus, 40 percent do not stay in self-isolation. When we do not change, the stagnated situation continues, which means that it won't get significantly better or worse."

On a positive note, she mentioned that even though the number of people needing hospital treatment has not decreased, the people needing intensive care and to use a ventilator has.

At the same time, there are several internal outbreaks. One of the reasons is the fast spread of the virus and the fact that the virus is brought in from outside.

"In some hospitals, the rules are stricter and they have been able to avoid outbreaks, but it has not been possible in other hospitals. It especially caught out county hospitals where there is no major experience with the coronavirus. They are being dealt with and the bigger hospitals are giving them advice. But the virus spreads easily - when one patient in the ward has it, the other gets it as well. The patients are tested before being accepted into the hospital, but the person can be in a period where he doesn't have the virus yet and the test is negative."

The scientific council does not recommend establishing new restrictions, but complying with the current restrictions better. Whether it is wearing masks, hand washing or dispersing children at schools.

"Opening the schools has seen more children infected, but they are not increasing the workload for hospitals. We just have to follow all the rules. There are counties where it has been possible to keep the situation under control just by following the rules. For example, wearing a mask in Tartu has not been a problem, but it has in Tallinn."

Lutsar was hesitant about punishing people for not complying with the restrictions.

"I'm not an expert on punishments. I think that people will be defiant when they're punished. But maybe a lawyer or a psychologist can answer this better. It's definitely good to remind people."

However, Lutsar highlighted that when in Spain, Portugal and Ireland, the restrictions were relaxed, the number of infected increased significantly.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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