Rīga East Hospital prepares for a third wave of Covid-19

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Riga East Clinical University Hospital (RAKUS) is preparing for a new outbreak of Covid-19 and an influx of patients, RAKUS Board Chair Imants Paeglis told Latvian Radio March 9.

“We've been in a 'steady' position for more than a year. East Hospital has been one of the main Covid-19 hospitals. Approximately a third of all Covid-19 patients in Latvia have been treated in the East Hospital. Our capacity has also been quite high during the “second wave”. There are more than 430 beds forCovid-19 patients in the East Hospital,” Paeglis said.

He said that forecasts for a new outbreak were scary. In that case, it will be very difficult to provide treatment for all Covid-19 patients, the hospital manager said. Patient treatment is not dependent on technical resources and available beds, but medical personnel, he said.

“Of course, with vaccination, we have managed very well to reduce morbidity among medics in the hospital. The Covid-19 “second wave” peak had nearly 300 employees in quarantine. At the moment, there are just over 60," said Paeglis.

In the event of a new Covid-19 outbreak, it is likely that the hospital will not be able to survive without additional limitations on health services, said the head of the East Hospital.

He said that there is currently unlimited care for oncological patients in the hospital. “But if the “third wave” really comes, I think it will be impossible to provide treatment for such a large number of patients without further restriction of services,” said Paeglis.

RAKUS looks at the scenario that by the end of April the number of Covid-19 patients in Latvian hospitals could rise to 1700. In that case, the number of beds in the East Hospital would have to be increased by 10-20%. “Of course, this is on the condition that all other hospitals continue to treat as many patients and also increase their capacity proportionally,” he added.

He acknowledged that such a scenario is moderate. On the other hand, in the event of a more gloomy situation, "we should consider restricting the emergency patients. I couldn't really imagine how it could be done," said Paeglis.

Though, according to the Disease Prevention and Control Center, the prevalence of Covid-19 in Latvia has been reducing, there is concern about the possible spread of the new, more contagious strain, which could lead to a high number of hospital-treated patients.

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