The Health Board's laboratory diagnosed two adults who recently returned from Northern Italy and France with COVID-19 on Tuesday morning, putting the total number of confirmed cases in Estonia at 13.
The board's laboratory has carried out a total of 350 COVID-19 tests since January 31. The Health Board and private company Synlab currently have the ability to test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes it.
The capacity will also be created at the North Estonia Medical Center, Tartu University Hospital, Ida-Viru Central Hospital and Pärnu Hospital in the coming days.
People are tested based on a decision by healthcare workers who look at symptoms and whether the person has recently been in a high-risk area or could have had contact with carriers of the coronavirus.
Based on the risk assessment of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Health Board designates as high-risk coronavirus areas China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.
A person can be successfully tested for the virus once they are exhibiting symptoms – a test administered before the person has a fever, cough or trouble breathing is likely to come back false negative.
A person who suspects they may have the coronavirus should consult their family physician or call the family medicine hotline 1220. People experiencing more serious health concerns, such as trouble breathing should call the emergency hotline 112.
People are urged not to go to the emergency room for risk of spreading the virus to others. People waiting for their test results or who have tested positive should stay home to avoid spreading the virus.
Both Tallinn and Tartu have special emergency response teams made up of a medic and ER specialist that respond to calls where the coronavirus is suspected. The brigades take test samples at people's homes. A special three-member team will react to suspected coronavirus cases in public areas (like the airport and passenger ports) and take suspected carriers to the hospital.
Symptoms of the COVID-19 disease are similar to those of the flu, with coughing, fever and trouble breathing among common complaints. The virus spreads mainly through close contact with a carrier exhibiting characteristic symptoms, especially a cough.
Editor: Marcus Turovski