Health board doctor: Scheduled treatments would halt in Tartu first

Tartu University Hospital.
Tartu University Hospital. Source: Aili Vahtla/ERR

Rising hospitalizations need not threaten scheduled treatments at hospitals, a leading doctor says, though the university of Tartu Hospital is in the front line should the situation change.

Urmas Sule, the Health Board's (Terviseamet) emergency medical manager, says that as things currently stand there is no need to restrict scheduled treatment across the board as a result of the coronavirus.

Sule told ERR Monday that: "As of this morning, there are a total of 116 patients in hospital due to COVID-19 virus disease," adding that this affects main hospitals rather than other medical facilities the most.

"At present, [the virus] is influencing the organization of treatment at the University of Tartu Hospital. We are trying to take this into account in our treatment management. Naturally, we have to take into account how widespread this disease is and where more infections are being created in a region, it is for the hospitals to fine tune things for themselves."

Sule said that the average age of the hospitalized has risen somewhat, to 67.

"The average age of patients in treatment has reached practically the same level as it was in the winter/spring period. As of today, the average age of patients in treatment is 67 years," he said.

Hospitals treating people with the virus at the time of writing include the Järva County, Põlva and Viljandi hospitals, as well as Narva hospital and Tartu university's hospital as well.

Võru Hospital is likely to join them, Sule added.

While work is being done to reorganize schedules so as to avoid interrupting planned treatments, Sule said a precise date when this may in any case happen can't be stated.

"All the hospitals are extremely interested in ensuring that their work organization does not make the situation worse for other patients," he said.

The figures also suggest the expected third wave started much earlier than 2020's second wave, adding that the hope is, taking into account that this time last year there were no vaccines in Estonia, that this means the wave will be somewhat milder this time around, though given around 20 percent of hospitalized people are vaccinated, this is no certainty, he said.

Spring 2020 saw all scheduled treatments, as well as dental treatments, suspended for over two months.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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