Number of Coronavirus confirmed cases in Estonia rises to 13

Thermal cameras at Port of Tallinn.
Thermal cameras at Port of Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Health Board (Terviseamet) announced a third person had been diagnosed with COVID-19 coronavirus on Tuesday, bring the total number of positive cases in Estonia to 13.

The patients had arrived from northern Italy and France, and traveled via Geneva and Helsinki.

Ester Öpik, Head of the Health Board's Northern Regional Office, said all confirmed cases in Estonia to date occurred in risk areas, meaning there has been no local spread in Estonia.

"Today, we are in a very good position in Estonia in this view. We are discovering positive cases in the population of Estonia quite well. We do not have a spread locally, which means that we are still in the fight against infection," said Öpik.

Those on the Geneva flight who were in close contact with the thirteenth diagnosed patient are in the process of being contacted, Öpik said.

All 13 cases confirmed in Estonia – the first reported on February 27 - are "stable and [suffering] relatively mild forms [of coronavirus]," Öpik said. 

Only one of the patients is in a hospital, but their health is not at risk, she added.

Recovery times vary from individual to individual, Öpik added, with the maximum ceiling being about six weeks. A person is considered healthy after they have given two consecutive negative samples for COVID-19.

The board's laboratory has carried out a total of 350 COVID-19 tests since January 31. The Health Board, together with private company Synlab, currently have the ability to test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes coronavirus.

This capacity will also be expanded to the North Estonia Medical Center, Tartu University Hospital, Ida-Viru Central Hospital and Pärnu Hospital, in the coming days, it is reported.

Individuals 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.

The primary at-risk areas, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), are the People's Republic of China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. 

Germany and France have not had the virus spread locally, so far, and are therefore not considered at-risk areas, Öpik added.

A coronavirus test can be successfully performed on a person who already has symptoms of the disease, such as cough, fever and breathing difficulties. Tests taken before the symptoms manifest themselves are likely to return negative even if the individual in question has the virus.

Those with good reason to suspect they have coronavirus, again meaning those who have recently traveled to at-risk areas or been in close contact with people who have, and/or are exhibiting symptoms, should consult their family doctor or the family doctor helpline on 1220 (English is spoken).

Only in the case of a serious deterioration of health should the pan-European emergency number, 112, be called.

People should under no circumstances go to an emergency room at a hospital if they suspect they have the virus; this could spread it to others in the vicinity.

Those awaiting coronavirus test results or who have tested positive must self-quarantine prevent the further spread of the virus. Those returning from at-risk areas should also self-quarantine for 14 days, which includes keeping school children at home – most schools will provide schoolwork online.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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