Emergency declared in Latvian health system over rising COVID-19 hospitalizations

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 11, 2020
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RIGA, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- A state of emergency was declared in the Latvian health system on Thursday as hospitals were struggling to cope with the high number of incoming COVID-19 patients, Health Ministry official Daina Murmane-Umbrasko said at a news conference.

The decision to declare the emergency was taken not by the government but a panel of health experts and heads of Latvia's hospitals, the State Operative Medical Commission, in order to expand the powers of hospital administrations, authorizing them to reorganize the medical institutions so that they can take in more patients.

The state of emergency in the health sector means that medical institutions will have more freedom in managing their resources. Hospital staff that normally do not handle infectious disease patients can now be involved in treating COVID-19 patients and medical workers on vacation can be recalled to stand in for colleagues who are sick or in quarantine.

Under the emergency rules, lower-level hospitals can be ordered to take over patients from the larger university and regional hospitals so that they can set aside more beds for severe COVID-19 patients.

According to the latest data, the saturation level of COVID-19 beds in Latvia's hospitals averaged at 76 percent on Thursday, but in the two leading hospitals, Riga Eastern Clinical University Hospital and Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital, 90 percent of COVID-19 beds were filled already.

According to the Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), there are more than 700 COVID-19 patients who are currently receiving treatment in hospitals. Earlier, Health Minister Ilze Vinkele warned that the Latvian health system's maximum capacity would be up to 1,000 COVID-19 beds. Enditem

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