Northern hospitals sending COVID-19 patients to south for treatment

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A ambulance in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

As the number of coronavirus patients in need of hospital treatment in the northern region of Estonia is exceeding treatment capacity, patients will be sent to the hospitals of the southern region starting Tuesday.

"In a situation where the epidemiological center is in northern Estonia, the hospitals in our region are almost full. In the southern region, the need for hospital treatment is lower at the moment and, fortunately, the hospitals of the southern medical headquarters can come to our aid," Peep Talving, medical director of North Estonia Medical Center and head of the medical headquarter of the northern region said.

In agreement with Joel Starkopf, head of the southern medical headquarters, the transport of patients to hospitals in the southern region will begin on Tuesday.

Patients will be transported by ambulances and the initial plan covers patients who need treatment at the standard ward level. Patients will be referred to the southern region as long as hospitals have the capacity to receive patients or until the pressure in the northern region is reduced and there are enough beds.

Patients in Tallinn will be provided with transport back to the referring hospital or home if the situation at the hospitals of the northern region improves.

Peep Talving Autor/allikas: ERR

Talving said ambulances will first take the patients to the emergency medicine departments of hospitals in their hospitalization area. "Doctors at the emergency medicine department will perform an initial examination of the patient and assess their need for hospital treatment," he said. "The transport and hospital will then be decided and the ambulance will take the patient to where there is a free bed for them."

There were 35 patients with COVID-19 infection at the emergency medicine department of the North Estonia Medical Center during the previous day, 15 of them were hospitalized. On Tuesday morning, the hospital had 152 COVID-19 patients, 128 in COVID-19 wards and 24 in COVID-19 intensive care units.

According to the Health Board's morning report, there are 507 coronavirus patients in hospitals in the northern region and 185 patients in hospitals in the southern region.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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