Emergency care to be prioritized from Monday, planned treatment suspended

A COVID-19 ward in East Tallinn Central Hospital.
A COVID-19 ward in East Tallinn Central Hospital. Source: Raigo Pajula/ITK

Patients needing emergency medical care will be prioritized from Monday (October 25) and planned treatment will be suspended due to the rising number of hospitalized coronavirus patients, the Health Board said on Friday.

Mari-Anne Harma, acting director general of the Health Board and head of the health emergency, said healthcare providers must be prepared for a situation where the number of people in need of help exceeds capacity.

"Measures that are not used under ordinary circumstances are to be introduced in health care. This is the last resort before the limiting of emergency care," Harma said.

The new rules mean planned treatment providers must temporarily free up bed places to accommodate COVID-19 patients. Treatment will be suspended for people who do not need immediate aid.

General medical care providers must also prioritize the provision of emergency care.

The Health Board last increased the health care risk level on August 20.

On Friday morning, the risk of coronavirus spread was very high. There were 446 coronavirus patients recieving hospital treatment.

Estonia has the capacity to treat approximately 600 patients. While there are more free beds, hospitals face staff shortages.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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