Health minister: Number of hospitalized patients will reach 600 this week

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A sign post at West Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Minister of Health and Labour Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Monday that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Estonia is likely to reach 600 this week and the growth will not stop there.

"The situation on the coronavirus front has reached new negative heights. 600 beds will be filled either way, more likely this week than next. What will be the peak of hospitalizations, we will see," Kiik said at a press conference on Monday.

The number of coronavirus diagnoses over the last week was more than double of the week prior, accelerating around Independence Day (February 24) with new record numbers of daily new cases coming on three consecutive days. The highest number of new daily cases came on Saturday, February 27, when 1,570 cases were diagnosed.

"It is the fastest rate since fall. It is only a matter of time with a trend like this, when the number of patients requiring hospitalization exceeds hospital capacity," the minister noted, adding that limiting the spread of the virus cannot only come from government decisions.

Urmas Sule, head of the Health Board's emergency medicine department, added that the number of patients requiring hospitalization has lessened among those aged 70 and up, but has increased most in the age group below.

"The age pyramid has thinned at the top, hospitalizations are getting younger. A lot of people in their 40s and 50s," Sule said.

He specified that the trend is reminiscent of the initial wave of the coronavirus a year ago.

Up to 71 percent of hospitalized patients are in hospitals in Tallinn, as the infection rate in Harju County is getting worse. Other hospitals are adjusting their conditions to be able to respond in case other hospitals cannot weather the storm.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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