According to the Health Board, now is not yet the right time to begin loosening the next round of COVID-19 related restrictions. The Estonian government likewise wants to hold off on dropping the use of COVID certificates.
Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) said that loosening COVID restrictions, including the potential dropping of COVID certificates, is not on the agenda for Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.
"It's important to wait for a clear decline in infections right now," Kiik explained. "We are finally starting to see the first signs of this. We likewise have to wait for a clear easing of the situation in hospitals before we can continue moving forward with the easing [of restrictions]."
Hanna Sepp, director of the Health Board's Department of Infectious Diseases, said that while the number of new COVID cases was slightly lower last week, this may have been due in part to the fact that fewer people got tested around Independence Day. While the number of new cases is slowing among children, no such drop can be seen among the elderly.
"In previous weeks, infections among the elderly increased, and the infection rate among the elderly remains high, meaning this may still continue to impact the capacity of hospital care," Sepp said.
According to the department director, the relaxing of any further restrictions should wait until the burden on hospitals has been reduced. Urmas Sule, chief of crisis medicine at the Health Board, has noted that unique to the current wave of COVID-19 is the fact that more patients are ending up hospitalized for whom COVID is a comorbidity.
North Estonia Medical Center (PERH) board member and Chief of Medicine Peep Talving explained that PERH is isolating any patients infected with the COVID-19 virus in COVID wards whenever possible.
"Once COVID wards are full, then patients with leading or comorbid COVID infections are isolated in beds in their relevant departments under as strict of isolation conditions as possible," Talving added.
Sepp said that hospitals are still working at their absolute limits.
"It is very important during school break that, while [families] surely very much want to go visit their grandparents, one should still be cautious and consider not spreading the disease to at-risk groups," she warned.
This week's COVID statistics indicate that the number of positive tests has fallen, while the number of patients hospitalized with COVID has remained steady on week.
A total of 66 people infected with COVID died during the past week.
Editor: Aili Vahtla