Latvia's hospitals continue to fill; many prepare to limit services

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is still increasing, so Rīga is already preparing to limit outpatient services, Latvian Radio reported December 1. 

By Monday, November 30, 534 COVID-19 patients were being treated in hospitals, the highest figure so far. The latest information from the Ministry of Health shows that altogether there are 633 beds in Latvia that are meant for these patients. They may soon be filled.

In addition, more and more medics are infected with the virus. Paula Stradiņa Clinical University Hospital currently has around 100 employees ill or as contact persons. Of the 85 COVID-19 beds, 69 are occupied.

The number has increased by five in the past 24 hours, said the hospital's Chairman, Rinalds Muciņš.

“Actually, we have to prepare ourselves already this week. In terms of numbers, we see that if such a pace continues, we are hitting the limit next week. And when it happens, we cannot do without limiting other forms of help. We have tried not to [limit anything] until now to help as many patients as possible,” Muciņš said.

Limiting could apply, for example, to urological or cardiac operations, says Mucins.

The hospital is trying to compensate for the lack of working hands by asking students to help.

188 COVID-19 patients are currently being treated at Riga East Clinical University Hospital. A total of 225 beds are available. The situation in the hospital is currently described as stable and will not be subject to limitations for the time being, said Haralds Plaudis, the hospital's head of treatment.

“We think about it, but we think a lot of things everyday. The question is when we act upon it. At the moment, it is not such a situation that we should act. But we have a plan how and what to limit,” said Plaudis.

Plaudis said that the most important thing is not the number of beds at the moment, but the lack of workers.

So far, 103 employees have fallen ill in the East Hospital, another 105 are in quarantine. However, this problem should not only be looked at in the context of COVID-19, said Plaudis.

The regional hospital in Liepaja is also in a stable situation. Currently 16 out of 33 beds are filled and no shortages are predicted in the near future. Plan B has been developed, however, explained hospital spokeswoman Indra Grase.

“If the disease rate does not decrease, we will have to close other sections. Outpatient admissions, surgeries will be cancelled, and any of these departments will be converted to COVID-19 patient department. And if the number of patients increases further, then we will close another department,” Grase said.


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