More than 12,000 people have opened their own sick notes on the national patient portal (Digilugu.ee) after the measure was temporarily introduced last Monday to reduce family doctors' workload and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The new measures were introduced on Monday, March 16 following the government's declaration of an emergency situation due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 5,000 people opened their own sick notes during the first day after implementation. On Tuesday, 1,359 sick notes and 300 care leave notes were opened.
"The growth in sick notes has slowed, but everything can change under these circumstances," Evelin Trink, head of public relations at the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF), told ERR.
According to Trink, people who have opened a sick note after being in contact with someone infected have actually yet to be diagnosed, because a doctor will have to contact the patient to determine the precise nature of the problem.
"We have agreed that the doctors will call a person within a week to discuss their symptoms and determine if the sick note is justified," Trink said.
As of Tuesday morning, 9,100 people had opened their own sick notes. An additional 3,000 care leave notes had been opened but according to Trink, the tempo is slowing down.
Around 30,000 sick and care leave notes were opened last year through March 1 to March 16, the number is substantially higher this year, reaching nearly 50,000.
Editor: Anders Nõmm