Extended testing for COVID-19 coronavirus across eight towns in Estonia over the coming days is a welcome development, board member of the Estonian Society of Family Practitioners (Eesti perearstide selts) Dr. Karmen Joller.
"I think people needed it. Another consideration is that we need to go beyond finding those people who are ill, to focus on those at risk. The risk of the illness and their prognosis for weathering it is the hardest thing," Joller said, speaking on ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Thursday evening.
The new testing regime requires referral from a family doctor.
Doctor Joller added that the second-most at risk group are the so-called frontline workers, including medical staff, who, through their work, come into contact with potential sufferer."
She also said that where needed, a family doctor will look at a patient before referring them for a test, but so-called drive-in tests (actually administered in the car-ed.) will be possible digitally as well.
"When a letter of delivery is given, a call is made to a person, regarding where and when he or she will take the test. Then they have to get there in time by car. /.../ The test is held only for one person in the car, not to other occupants. If the individual has severe mobility disability, a home visit may also be arranged. We're trying to make sure the resource is targeted at the weakest," Dr. Joller went on.
Doctor Joller confirmed that while a doctor first looks for symptoms of coronavirus, a referral also examines whether the person is at risk and suffers from other underlying chronic illnesses. However, not every chronic disease affects the immune system and this does not automatically mean a test is needed, she said.
Joller emphasized to those working that doctors only issue sick notes to actually sick people.
Editor: Andrew Whyte