Medical workers in Latvia worried 2022 could kick off with a surge of new Covid-19 infections

Latvian medical workers are concerned the government’s recent decision to ease certain epidemiological restrictions may cause serious consequences in 2022, as LTV programme Rīta panorāma was told by P.Stradins Clinical University Hospital (PSKUS) board chairman Rinalds Muciņš.
He says the number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised at PSKUS is in the process of dropping – there are less than 40 such patients remaining. At the same time, medical workers are worried about 2022 and the risk of Omicron Covid-19 variant potentially causing a surge of new patients around February.
This is why the hospital remains on high alert, so that it is possible to adequately respond to a potential surge of new infections and patient influx should it happen.
PSKUS is also concerned about the growing numbers of vaccinated Covid-19 patients. ‘The virus is changing. The Omicron variant has already proved more resilient to available vaccines than previous Covid-19 variants,’ says the chairman of the hospital.
He stresses Covid-19 vaccination has yet to reach 70% to 80% globally, which means there are still risks of new virus variants appearing and available vaccines becoming less effective.
Muciņš says all medical workers have access to booster shot options. However, about half of PSKUS medical workers have opted for it so far.
The hospital does all it can to expand vaccination among its staff. At the same time, people are tired from all the new requirements.
«Our psychological service, which was created in the hospital specifically to help out staff mentally deal with the situation, is very active. There are plans to expand activities next year,» Muciņš comments on burnout and stress levels among hospital staff.
The hospital is also concerned about the government’s plans to lift certain restrictions this year, including letting entertainment venues stay open all night for New Year’s night. «We know it was the adoption of restrictions that helped us deal with the crisis with relative ease in October and November, when the number of patients increased dramatically,» stressed Muciņš.
Considering the spread of the new variant and eased restrictions, the next increase of infection cases may turn out larger than the one observed in autumn, predicts PSKUS board chairman. He also believes declaring a state of emergency is not a solution. Maintaining restrictions and continuing vaccination efforts is a solution.