Health Board emergency medicine chief Urmas Sule told ERR on Tuesday that most hospitalized coronavirus patients in Estonia are infected with the Delta variant.
"We are in the so-called 'demicron' state, meaning the Omicron variant has been predominant for some time now, but hospitalized patients are mostly infected with the Delta variant," Sule said on ETV's interview show "Esimene stuudio" on Tuesday evening.
At the same time, Sule said the Omicron variant should not be treated too lightly. "And we do not know how the illness will further affect the need for hospital treatment. In this situation, we are attempting to plan our actions for as short a period as possible," he said.
The former hospital chief noted that if the Omicron strain develops into a milder virus, collective recovery could become a solution. "But we do not know if that will actually happen."
Sule noted that while the hospitalization rate is increasing, it is not as bad as it was with the Delta variant, but there are still other risks. "The biggest risk now is that this illness will spread wildly and reach everyone. And it will not only affect the healthcare sector, but the labor market. It gets very complicated to manage if people are sick and we have no employees," he said.
The Health Board official added that current trends show that the infection wave will first hit family physician centers and ambulance services.
Experts have recently claimed that PCR testing is no longer medically justified. Sule did not argue that claim and noted that such testing can also get very expensive. "I would dare say that we will likely move in that direction in Estonia, as well, either reducing PCR testing or losing it entirely. Let smarter minds think and decide that," Sule said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste