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The Health Board confirmed the conditions for restoring scheduled treatment

The medical emergency chief Dr Arkadi Popov signed instructions for the gradual restoration of scheduled treatments, establishing minimum requirements for compliance with the rules for control of infection. The treatment of COVID-19 positive patients will be concentrated in seven higher-level hospitals, in addition to the Kuressaare hospital.

“The move towards scheduled treatment has to be gradual because the minimum requirements for healthcare providers are strict. In the current epidemiological situation, we must be careful and protect both the patients and health care staff. It is necessary to comply with the rules for enhanced control of infections and to restore regular health care services only when it is safe and controlled – which will be the responsibility of each and every health care institution,” said Dr Arkadi Popov, the medical emergency chief of the Health Board.

The plan for restoring scheduled treatments at the Kuressaare Hospital will be developed separately in the coming days. So far, the Health Board recommends offering remote medical services using telephone and video calls as it has been done during the restriction of movement.

“Many people have been waiting for the restoration of scheduled treatment but not all the services will unfortunately start immediately, it will be done gradually and under the conditions of strict infection controls. The most important prerequisite for resuming planned treatment is the existence of personal protective equipment and the transmission-free treatment process,” said the Director-General of the Health Board, Head of Emergency Merike Jürilo.

“The need for a suspending scheduled treatments arose at the end of March as COVID-19 spread, and all health care facilities lacked personal protective equipment, and their acquisition was difficult across the world. At the same time, personal protective equipment is essential to limit the spread of the virus. At the discretion of the treating physician, scheduled treatment during the restriction period was allowed, if not continuing the treatment would have endangered the patient’s health,” explained Merike Jürilo, the Director-General of the Health Board, the Head of Emergency.

The instructions set minimum requirements for the provision of scheduled outpatient and inpatient services to patients, both in family medical centres, hospitals, dental clinics, and private health institutions. Rooms for outpatient treatment must be separated from spaces intended for COVID-19 patients or reception times must be allocated separated. When planning the work, it is important to consider the additional time needed to reduce contacts between patients and disinfect surfaces after every patient.

Incoming patients must take into account that the health care provider will take the patient's body temperature, requests to complete the COVID-19 health declaration and disinfect their hands. The patient must wear a surgical mask while staying in the health care facility, which will be provided at the health care facility.

For dental care and other aerosol-generating procedures, the patient must have been tested for COVID-19 maximum 48 hours before the beginning of the treatment and the test results must be negative. If this requirement cannot be met, staff must use additional spray-proof personal protective equipment and a respirator.

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