Covid-19, Estonia, EU – Baltic States, Health, Medicine

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 29.11.2023, 05:49

Estonian health care system's level of preparedness raised to 1

BC, Tallinn, 11.03.2020.Print version
The Estonian Health Board has raised the health care system's level of preparedness to 1, which indicates a real risk of a crisis, writes LETA/BNS.

Level 1 preparedness means that hospitals and the emergency services have started stocking up on supplies and expanding coronavirus testing capability, spokespeople for the Ministry of Social Affairs said.1

Also activated are additional reduced-composition emergency service teams responding to calls regarding suspected cases of COVID-19. Emergency services and hospitals have been instructed to employ existing personal protective equipment stocks.1

The Health Board has analyzed over 350 samples, 13 of which tested positive for COVID-19, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said.

"While at present, only a few individual imported cases have been confirmed, we must be prepared for a wider spread of the disease among the population," he said. "We have in recent weeks further raised the level of preparedness of the health care system and public authorities," he noted. 

"All hospitals have been instructed on how to handle patients with suspected COVID-19 infection. The Health Board has mapped out all hospital and emergency service managers' personal protective equipment stocks, we have signed a procurement contract with an Estonian producer for restocking our respirator supplies, and we are also participating in an EU joint procurement of personal protective equipment," Merike Jurilo, director general of the health Board said. "In addition to the Health Board's laboratory, capacity for COVIC-19 testing is also being created in four more Estonian hospitals to reduce testing burden and identify new cases as quickly as possible."

Capability for COVID-19 testing is at present also being expanded to the North Estonia Medical Centre, East-Viru Central Hospital, University of Tartu Hospital and Parnu Hospital. For the moment, the Health Board and SYNLAB are the only laboratories with the capability.

"In our estimation, the number of beds, including in intensive care, is at present sufficient for coping with a possible wider spread of the coronavirus among the population. If the number of affected people increases, the next level of preparedness can be employed, which allows to reduce the availability of scheduled treatment, thereby increasing hospitals' capacity," Jurilo said.

The State Agency of Medicines has been tasked with mapping out critical pharmaceutical needs and making proposals for building up further stocks in cooperation with the Health Board and the Health Insurance Fund.

Level 1 of health care system preparedness indicates a real risk of a crisis. Level 2 means that the number of people in need of help exceeds the ordinary service capacity of health care establishments in the crisis area and its vicinity. Level 3 means that the number of people in need of help significantly exceeds the service capacity of at least half of the health care establishments in the entire state. 

In the Health Board's estimation, the risk of individual coronavirus cases being imported to Estonia is very high, the likelihood of limited local transmission is medium to high and the likelihood of extensive local transmission low.1

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