Health Board not ruling out new restrictions if hospitals' workloads rise

Mari-Anne Härma and Tanel Kiik
Mari-Anne Härma and Tanel Kiik Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Health Board cannot rule out introducing new restrictions if the number of patients in hospital rises, said Acting Director General of the Health Board Mari-Anne Härma on Wednesday.

Estonia's coronavirus crisis levels are coded green, yellow, orange and red.

The number of new cases is currently in the "high" or "orange" risk level as the 14-day rate is between 250 - 600 per 100,000 people. On Wednesday it was 570.97.

However, the level of hospitalized patients is one below, at "yellow" or "medium". This means between 10 - 30 patients have been admitted in the last seven days. On Wednesday, 207 patients were receiving treatment for covid-19.

Härma said if the number of patients reaches the next level - "orange" - next week new proposals will be made to limit the burden on hospitals. At level "orange" between 30 - 60 patients are admitted each week.

Speaking at a weekly press conference, she said the focus will be on hospitals in Tallinn and Harju County as they dictate the working flow of the rest of the country.

Additionally, new restrictions cannot be ruled out if the number of people in hospitals rises considerably, she said.

Härma said the goal is to avoid a situation where hospitals' workloads peak in spring as it did this year when 727 people were in treatment on April 5.

Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said restrictions will not be lifted across the country as there are big variations in vaccine coverage in each region.

Health Board recommends ending testing in schools

Härma said the coronavirus is currently spreading the most among parents and children and this is associated with the start of the school year.

She could not rule out a move to distance learning in the future.

"One month of going back to school has shown that children mainly become infected within the family circle and then at school," said Härma. She said asymptomatic cases were rarely seen.

Härma said the agency is recommending testing at school stops. She said self-isolation rules need to be reviewed.

Both proposals have been sent to the Ministry of Social Affairs. From there they will be viewed by the government's advisory council and the coalition.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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