While Lääne County is among the lowest counties in Estonia in terms of infection rates, the spread of the coronavirus has also accelerated there and the coronavirus ward being extended means the Läänemaa Hospital will have to suspend its scheduled treatments.
As of Wednesday, 167 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus over the last 10 days. Health Board western region department manager Kadri Juhkam said there were 114 infections the week prior, so the increase is considerable.
"We can still see an increase, we see an increase in all counties of the western region, although we could say at some point that the rise was modest on the islands and in Lääne County, we cannot say that now," Juhkam said.
She said 60.54 percent of all people in the west are vaccinated with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. That indicator climbs to 70.48 percent for the adult population and 79.3 percent for the 60+ age group. "The general vaccination rate could still be higher in Lääne County, as well," Juhkam noted.
Läänemaa Hospital chief of medicine Alge Vare said all eight bed places of the hospital's coronavirus unit are occupied. Patients are all from Lääne County and six of them are unvaccinated. An extension to the unit is upcoming and stopping scheduled treatments has also begun.
"We will create 12 places by Monday and will have 18 places from November 8. For us to create an eight-bed fund, we closed off 24 beds of our 48-bed active treatment ward and this 18 places means we will suspend all kinds of scheduled treatments," Vare said.
The hospital chief added that only emergency surgery, emergency internal medicine and some nursing facilities will be maintained.
Helle Saarsoo, a family physician working in Haapsalu, said 73 percent of the patients in her registry have been vaccinated with the rate for the 80+ age group even higher. While there is certainly interest in booster doses, it is still hard to convince those who have refused vaccination so far, Saarsoo said.
"We have registries, people have asked for booster doses for a long time, we are now calling them and inviting them. But we still have difficulties with first doses. I have called five people [on Wednesday] between receptions and I have been able to convince three of them, two gave me a negative response. They do not want it, don't want to talk about it, they get mad," the family physician said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste