All hospitals will temporarily limit services in Latvia

On Tuesday, December 1, the government decided to temporarily limit inpatient and day-patient services in hospitals and clinics, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Health Minister Ilze Viņķele said at a press conference Tuesday night that the possibilities of hospitals to take in COVID-19 patients, without limiting other services, have been exhausted.

Statistics from the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) show that over the last week, compared to one week earlier, increase was seen in both the number of people with COVID-19 (49.8%) and the number of patients at hospitals (32.6%).

Epidemiologists point out that about 10-15% of COVID-19 patients need hospital treatment, so forecasts suggest that numbers will continue to rise.

The government determined that as of December 3, hospitals are required to limit both inpatient and day-patient healthcare services.

Ambulatory (outpatient) health services will not be restricted. 

Emergency medical and acute assistance will continue to be provided, including examinations and advice needed. Ambulatory health services, including specialist advice, will also be provided. Oncological and life-saving operations will also not be cancelled.

Hospitals should also provide the following services after 3 December:

  • services to ensure continuity of treatment: chemotherapy, biological medicinal products, replacement organ therapy;
  • radiotherapy;
  • day-patient services in hematology;
  • substitution therapy for methadone and buprenorphine;
  • patient health care that should be continued or completed in hospital emergency treatment;
  • invasive cardiology;
  • invasive radiology.

The following will be mandatory in the hospitals:

  • acute and emergency medical treatment;
  • oncological, life-saving, as well as operations which may result in disability;
  • healthcare services related to the treatment of such groups of diseases: oncology, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, psychiatry, contagious skin diseases and sexually transmitted diseases; traumatology;
  • acute and sub-acute rehabilitation services for persons for whom the postponement of such services may lead to a risk of disabling or loss of workability, including children, for whom postponement of rehabilitation services is associated with a significant deterioration of their functioning.

Each medical treatment institution will contact the patient individually to inform if any service is postponed. These patients will not lose their queue and will receive priority when the services are restored. If a person decides that a service is not needed at the moment, it is important to cancel it in advance.

The government also decided to stop providing health-care services as part of medical tourism until the end of the emergency, with the right to provide exceptions based on humane reasoning.


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