Intra-hospital spread of coronavirus a growing problem
There are more and more patients in Estonian hospitals that were admitted for reasons other than the coronavirus, but have been infected within the hospital.
In the start of October, there were 39 patients in hospitals that were receiving treatment for illnesses other than the coronavirus, but ended up giving a positive test. Three weeks later, that number rose to 108.
Tartu University Hospital board member Joel Starkopf sees intra-hospital infections as one of the reasons. "Patients have come to the hospital for other diseases and have gotten infected from other people in the department or the staff," the hospital manager told ERR on Tuesday.
The same issue was more common in northern region hospitals in the spring, but Starkopf said the problem has now reached the South, as well. He said intra-hospital spread is most problematic in psychiatric hospitals, where isolating people can be a difficult task.
"True, we test the patients on admission to the hospital, but the tests are negative on the first day and positive on the third," Starkopf said. "It turns out the patient is a virus carrier. We test the patients around them - three or four of ten are infected and need complete isolation."
The hospital manager said the increase of infections at Tartu University Hospital can be explained by two or three outbreaks in departments. "I can say the situation in those departments is now under control," Starkopf said.
He said people admitted to the hospital for reasons related to the coronavirus tend to be more seriously ill than people getting infected at the hospital.
"Vaccinations protect against infection first and foremost, but it also protects against serious illness, meaning hospitalization and the need for intensive care," Starkopf said.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste