10 hospital staff members in quarantine after returning from Italy
Seven employees from North Estonia Medical Centre (PERH) and three employees of the Tartu University Hospital, who have returned from northern Italy, are in isolation at home and are all healthy, it was confirmed to ERR on Friday.
The staff members from both hospitals were onboard a flight from Bergamo in northern Italy to Riga on February 29.
Agris Peedu, chairman of the regional hospital board, said PERH staff did not return to work after returning from their travels and are at home. As of Friday, Peedu said seven PERH employees are self-quarantining at home.
"Before the return flight, our infection control contacted them and immediately directed them to isolate at home, according to procedures established at the regional hospital. Already last week, we identified the vacation destinations for all of our vacationers and they were contacted individually when they were on vacation."
All PERH employees returning or returning from risk areas, including northern Italy, on leave or on vacation will remain in home isolation for 14 days. After that, they must consult an infection control nurse and then be allowed to work.
Visiting patients at a regional hospital was banned to mitigate risks. Any posting of workers to risk areas will also be excluded.
"We have also given clear instructions to our staff on missions related to risk areas and other trips. We do not have missions to risk areas, of course, because the organizers there have made such a reasoned decision. We strongly advise against traveling to risk areas," Peedu said.
At the Tartu University Hospital, three employees who returned from risk areas were self-quarantining on Friday. Unlike PERH, the clinic's guide did not automatically prescribe staying home, but instead, they were evaluated by the clinic's infection control. They were told to stay at home after discovering they had possibly come into contact with a confirmed coronavirus carrier on the plane trip home, Liina Raju from the hospital's public relations office told ERR.
Raju said the workers who have stayed home are healthy as of Friday morning and are showing no symptoms.
So far, the clinic has not changed its guidelines.
"These staff acted in accordance with the authority's instructions. The Infection Service is constantly monitoring the epidemiological situation and, depending on the situation, we will update the current guidelines if necessary," said Raju.
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Editor: Helen Wright