Health Board: 25 people test positive for coronavirus in Saaremaa care home

Room in nursing home.
Room in nursing home. Source: Südamekodud

Twenty-two residents and three members of staff at a nursing home in Saaremaa tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), the Health Board said on Friday.

On Thursday it was reported two patients tested positive for the virus at Südamekodu Care Home on the island after they started showing symptoms. A further 38 tests were then carried out on residents and members of staff who had been in close contact.

On Friday evening the Health Board announced 25 people had tested positive for the virus.

Kadri Juhkam, the Head of the Western division of the Health Board, said at the moment no resident at the nursing home is in critical condition.

Juhkam said: "By now it has become clear that there is widespread virus transmission in the nursing home. The nursing home has been placed in isolation and COVID-19 positive and negative patients have been separated."

Both of the initially infected people at the care home were admitted to Kuressaare Hospital for treatment, their condition is stable and they are under medical supervision.

Other nursing homes in Saaremaa will start being tested in the coming days.

Mayor of Saaremaa Madis Kallas said that on Saturday, the Health Board, the Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik, the Saaremaa Crisis Team, the Kuressaare Hospital and Südamekodu Care Home will discuss the situation and set out further action.

"The goal is to make sure nursing homes can continue their work and that all those in care are given full support," Kallas said.

A week ago, on March 19, Kallas also tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Piret Pihel, Head of Südamekodu Care Home, said: "With such a large number of positive tests, this is a bad surprise for us because most of the people in our home are not showing any signs of the disease, except for thje two who have been checked by medical staff. We are actively cooperating with the Health Board and the local government, and we have received the consent of some of the staff for isolation.

"In the current situation, the most important thing is that everyone is in a stable condition and we are working with the Health Board and the municipality to get immediate medical care."

The Health Board has banned all visitors to care and nursing homes during the emergency situation which is due to last until May 1.

As of Friday morning, in total, 575 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed across Estonia and 170 of those cases are on the island of Saaremaa.

The county has the second-highest number of patients after Harju County, which included figures for Tallinn.

On Friday afternoon, a member of staff at Kuressaare Hospital wrote on the hospital's Facebook page that, so far, 21 members of staff were in isolation after contracting the disease.

Saaremaa's confirmed infection cases number 51.3 COVID-19 patients infected per 10,000 residents, the hospital said, highlighting as a comparison that the indicator was 34.6 in Lombardy, Italy, 11.5 in Hubei, China, and 3.3 in Tallinn and Harju County.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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