TARTU - Due to a sharp increase in the numbers of coronavirus patients in need of hospital treatment, Tartu University Hospital was set to make available additional beds for COVID-19 patients on Monday.
The hospital's board member Joel Starkopf said in a press release that during the summer months, the hospital had 20 beds available in its infectious diseases department, plus intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients. As all beds of the infectious diseases department were filled over the weekend and infection numbers in South Estonia are the highest in Estonia, up to 20 additional beds for COVID-19 patients will be opened in the hospital's internal medicine clinic from Aug. 16.
The hospital has also made a request to other hospitals of the medical headquarters for South Estonia to ensure the availability of COVID-19 beds and patient admission capacity.
"COVID-19 beds are available today at East-Viru Central Hospital and Narva Hospital. Other hospitals in our region have also confirmed their readiness to open beds," said Juri Karjagin, head of the medical headquarters for South Estonia.
He added that the hospitalization of COVID-19 patients and occupancy of beds in the area of responsibility of the medical headquarters for South Estonia will be coordinated, just like during the second wave of the virus, by Anne Kallaste, head of the department of infectious diseases at Tartu University Hospital.
According to Starkopf, Monday's decision to open an additional ten beds does not mean an immediate curtailment of scheduled care at Tartu University Hospital, although this may be necessary in the near future.
"Over the weekend, 11 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized at the hospital. If this trend continues and the hospital makes available additional beds, it will certainly also mean a need for additional staff. It is very likely that in order to find additional staff to treat COVID-19 patients, we will have to limit the work of our other departments," Starkopf said.
The hospital's chief medical officer Andres Kotsar said that where in the summer months, new infection cases were reported the most in young people aged 18-29, who need hospitalization less often than the elderly, now an increase in the infection of the elderly is being witnessed, which has a direct impact on the hospital system.