On Sunday morning, an 89-year-old resident at a care center in Ida-Viru County received a positive diagnosis for coronavirus (COVID-19). The Health Board have begun testing all residents and staff at the center.
The diagnosis was made at Alutaguse care center ( Alutaguse hoolekeskuse) which offers health care and social services in the southern region of the Ida-Viru County.
Alutaguse Assistant Mayor Kairi Soomer told Põhjarannik newspaper on Sunday morning the Health Board had confirmed the test. "Both the elderly gentleman who was diagnosed and his roommate, who had similar symptoms, were taken by ambulance to the hospital."
Manager Kristiina Ets said the center has 103 residents and 56 employees and all are will be tested.
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) and the Political Director of Local Government Benefits and Services Triin Raag said at a press conference on Sunday that hundreds of nursing home staff and patients have been tested across Estonia and so far only care homes in Saaremaa had reported positive tests.
Kiik said staff at nursing homes have complied with quarantine requirements when necessary. He also noted that workers cannot be subject to very strict restrictions, as everyone has families and close family members, and this also violates the fundamental rights of the people.
However, those in nursing homes who have come from abroad or who have had symptoms have been quarantined, Kiik added.
The minister said it should be kept in mind staff do this work for relatively low pay and It is worth remembering that there is still a shortage of workers in the care sector.
The press conference took place before the positive test at Alutaguse care home was reported by the media.
Kiik also confirmed that testing in nursing homes does not mean redistributing Estonia's testing capacity but means adding more tests.
Yesterday ERR News reported 27 residents and staff members at Südamekodu Care Home in Kuressaare had also tested positive for the disease.
It was reported on Sunday that Kuressaare Hospital nursing home, 24 residents were tested and two positive results were diagnosed. The staffs' results are still to be determined.
People are no longer allowed to visit relatives in care homes or hospitals.
In total 649 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in Estonia and over 10,400 tests have been carried out since January 31. Three people have died after contracting the virus as of Sunday, March 29.
Editor: Helen Wright