Tartu University Hospital limits planned treatments as covid numbers rise

Tartu University Hospital main entrance.
Tartu University Hospital main entrance. Source: Tartu University Hospital.

Tartu University Hospital, the largest health care provider in Estonia, is limiting planned treatments amid rising coronavirus numbers.

The hospital's board made the decision Monday, in order to ensure emergency capacity both for coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients is guaranteed.

Hospital board member Joel Starkopf said: "Two existing intensive care units have been transformed into coronavirus intensive care units. In order to continue intensive care for other non-coronavirus patients, it is necessary to limit scheduled surgical treatment."

Andres Kotsar, the treatment manager of the clinic, Kotsar said: "We all hope that the situation in society will return to normal as soon as possible and that treatment will be provided to all patients, and not mean longer treatment queues.

"Two thirds of patients in need of hospital treatment are unvaccinated, which is why we emphasize the importance of vaccination," Kotsar added.

As of Monday, 64 of Estonia's 272 coronavirus hospitalizations were at Tartu University Hospital, with 14 of these in intensive care. Nineteen people were admitted to hospital due to the virus over the course of last weekend alone, ERR reports.

Nationwide, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations had risen to 290 as of Tuesday morning, the Health Board (Terviseamet) says.

This number is rising, Starkopf added, while the clinic had already expanded its infectious diseases department to 40 beds and opened an additional COVID-19 department in the lung clinic, with 20 beds.

Kotsar said that scaling down the activities in the six operating theaters has already begun this week.

Those awaiting scheduled surgery will be contacted by hospital staff.

At the peak of the coronavirus first wave in March-May 2020, scheduled treatments nationwide were suspended.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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