Hospitals could soon limit more services and resort to other facilities

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If the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals reaches 1,500, the Latvian hospitals would have to restrict their services even more to provide human resources for emergency care, Health Ministry State Secretary Indra Dreika said at the government meeting October 19.

As of October 16, 1,126 beds had been set up in Latvian hospitals to treat Covid-19 sufferers.

While there are 1,100-1,400 sufferers, healthcare can be provided in all hospitals, but many scheduled hospital health services are discontinued. According to Dreika the “critical figure” of 1,500 which will be hit between October 23 and 27 according to trends analysis, will mean that even more services will be discontinued also at private medical establishments to attract more workforce. Patient sorting is also planned at all levels of healthcare.

By November 1, the number of beds occupied for the treatment of Covid-19 patients could provisionally reach 2,200. In this case, emergency medical treatment and treatment of Covid-19 patients would be primarily provided. Patient sorting in inpatient care facilities is planned. 

On the other hand, when the number of Covid-19 beds reaches 3000, which is provisionally available around 10 November, is planned to deploy module-type buildings to hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. Beds are planned to be expanded into other infrastructures - sanatorium, unused hospital buildings. The establishment of a hospital in cooperation with the National Armed Forces (NBS) is also envisaged. Among other things, the involvement of volunteers in the care of Covid-19 patients is planned.

The VM secretary of state warned that insufficient resources will make it impossible to provide the necessary healthcare – not only with Covid-19, but also for patients with chronic diseases and others. At this stage, international assistance will be needed.

In view of these extreme circumstances, the strict “lockdown” should be used simultaneously to promote vaccination, particularly in risk groups, said Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš. 

"Would we be prepared to impose mandatory vaccination for people 50 and over? I think we actually have no choice. If we do not get these people vaccinated in these four weeks, our country will be in a downward spiral. The rest of Europe is open, the economy is open, people are happy and walking around in their daily lives, while we will sit at home because a large proportion of people have not been vaccinated. The absolute majority of society cannot afford it!" said the Prime Minister.

Most government members in the discussion questioned the possibility of asking people over the age of 50 to vaccinate against Covid-19. This would be legally justified according to job groups but not by age, argued Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns.

“A mandatory obligation to vaccinate seniors – what does it mean from a legal point of view? [..]The police will catch them on the street or not let them in a grocery store? It's not really serious,” the Minister for Justice said.

At the same time, VM will assess the possibilities of better informing the Russian-speaking population about vaccination. The problem has been highlighted by hospitals because the majority of people ending up at hospitals are Russian-speaking. 


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