Urmas Sule, the Emergency medicine chief at the Health Board (Terviseamet), says the fact that more children are hospitalized with coronavirus shortens the time that those who have contracted the virus spend in hospitals, as children generally recover faster.
Sule said that many people were admitted to hospitals with coronavirus at the weekend, and as of Monday morning, 525 people with coronavirus were hospitalized. Of these, 25 are in intensive care and 14 are on ventilators.
"There are different patients. There are those who come for treatment for symptomatic Covid, but there are those who have Covid as a co-morbid condition. About half of them have been in the last day," Sule said. "Covid-concomitant patients are well versed in a variety of pathologies. There are both psychiatric patients and many Covid-positive mothers."
While in mid-January the average number of patients in the hospital was 13–14 days, last week it stood at six days. Sule said that the average had fallen statistically due to the need for hospital treatment of children, but the overall length of hospital treatment does not differ.
"What makes the treatment period shorter is that there are children in treatment and they were practically absent from hospitals during the spring wave due to coronavirus. In recent periods, there have been a lot of them and children generally recover much faster," he said.
"There are not huge changes to the virus. We can see that there are more groups of infected people. Children, a lot of births," Sule went on.
Sule noted that when the general peak of illness has been reached, the need for hospital treatment will be reached a week or two later. "Of course, we all hope that hospital treatment won't be needed in such capacities, but there is no certainty on that. There is a lot to say about the number of people in need of hospital care."
Infection of medical staff is a major concern for hospitals, and there are currently hundreds of sick people. "The most difficult challenge is to deal with people. If we drop people, there is a risk that the burden on others will increase, which in turn will pose health risks again. We will try to take all possible measures to limit the illness, but infection from outside the hospital," Sule added.
It is difficult to predict how many people will be in hospitals by the end of the week, but Sule says he estimates that there is no reason to expect that the need for hospital treatment will decrease. "I really hope we can prescribe more patients at the beginning of the week, but we can expect that number to grow. Will it reach 600 - we hope it doesn't, but there's reason to think it's growing."
Editor: Roberta Vaino