Family doctor's referral now necessary for coronavirus test

Two hundred and fifty eight cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Estonia so far. The number of infected people is certainly greater, however, because people with milder symptoms have yet to be tested. In cooperation with private sector, the state will now expand testing with the prerequisite of a family doctor's referral.

Family doctors will decide whether an individual needs the test or not and will issue a referral if necessary.

Synlab laboratory has the capability of analyzing around 500 samples in 24 hours. By next week, this number will be doubled and will grow even higher as state and private sector established cooperation from Thursday.

"A patient that is unwell or presenting symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome will contact their family doctor, who will then decide to place an order if the patient is elderly or has underlying medical conditions," Synlab Northern Europe CEO Rainar Aamisepp told ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Wednesday night.

After the family doctor has issued the referral, Synlab will contact the individual and provide further instructions. For the sampling, seven carside testing points will initially be set up across Estonia.

"We have ordered more tests," social affairs minister Tanel Kiik (Center) said.

According to Kiik 10,000 to 12,000 tests are in stock, with 20,000 added this week and tens of thousands more next week. In the coming months, Estonian laboratories will be able to conduct 50,000 to 60,000 coronavirus tests, Kiik said.

The capacity of testing at home is in the creation stage, however, meaning there is no reason to go to a testing point without a referral, Aamisepp clarified.

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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