Healthcare crisis situation status downgraded to threat from July

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A health care worker treating a coronavirus patient at Tallinn's North Estonia Medical Center. Source: PERH

The healthcare crisis situation related to coronavirus will end on July 1 and will be downgraded to a threat, head of the Health Board Üllar Lanno said on Monday evening.

In practice, this means a change to the level of preparedness for healthcare providers, ambulances, providers of inpatient specialist care and general medical care who will be allowed to start rebuilding reserves and to carry out routine activities.

The Health Board emphasized that there is still a risk of a pandemic and related restrictions apply.

Lanno said the number of beds for coronavirus patients in hospitals will be reduced from July, but hospitals must remain ready to reopen them if necessary.

"In essence, this means preparing for a new wave of infection, which will hopefully be prevented by joint efforts," Lanno said.

He said foreign strains of the virus still need to be monitored and testing must remain high.

"Vigilance must not be lost, because the threat of an emergency still exists. The delta strain, the so-called Indian strain, is slowly breaking into Estonia and is spreading at least one-third faster than the currently dominant so-called UK strain, so special care must now be taken," Lanno said. 

An emergency situation (hädaolukord) in the healthcare sector was established in Estonia at the start of November when there were 60 coronavirus patients being treated in hospital. As of Monday, this number has fallen to 34.

Estonia's infection rate - R - is 0.67 which means the coronavirus is not rising. The 14-day average is 33.6 per 100,000 inhabitants, the lowest since September.

There are three levels of healthcare crisis in Estonia, with level three being the worst and most dangerous level which is called when there is a major incident. Level one is the lowest and suggests there is a threat but no actual emergency.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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