Number of coronavirus cases diagnosed lower than expected

Carside coronavirus testing at Kuressaare Hospital.
Carside coronavirus testing at Kuressaare Hospital. Source: Foto: Margus Muld / ERR

Forecasts for the rate of coronavirus infections this week were higher than the number of patients so far diagnosed, said Lt. Col. Ahti Varblane, Chief Medical Officer of the Health Board.

Giving an overview of the situation in Estonia at a press conference on Wednesday, Varblane said if we compare the predictions made about this week's diagnosis rate, the level of infections is currently lower. He noted that it was nice to have to acknowledge this fact and thanked everyone who had worked hard to stay home.

Rapid tests, which can give an accurate diagnosis in hour rather than four, have been particularly helpful for hospitals, he said.

In nursing homes where patients with symptoms of the disease have been found, testing has started and a number of nursing and care homes are under surveillance and being tested repeatedly.

"As a member of the Defense Forces, I have to say that intelligence is very important and testing is intelligence. We can find out what is going on around us, but intelligence cannot be done /.../ We have to do it very purposefully [and] planned. Every test is a resource - healthcare professionals, protective equipment, tests, laboratory capabilities," said Varblane.

He said rapid testing can also cause problems and can give false readings. The disease is a dynamic process and at the time of the test the person may be healthy, but three hours later they may not be.

If a person with symptoms or a positive test result is found they are separated as quickly as possible from other healthy people, he said.

Speaking about the Defense Forces' field hospital which has been built in Kuressaare overnight, he noted that in addition to the Defense Forces, all large Estonian hospitals are contributing to its team, and their main task is to support Kuressaare Hospital. Everyone who will staff the field hospital has agreed to do so voluntarily.

"The crew is in a very narrow area, like a submarine or a spaceship, they have to wear protective equipment and because of the work they will carry out they will not be able to leave Saaremaa. [It will be] 12-14 hours of work, 12-10 hours of sleep. Therefore, it is certainly not possible to send people there by order, all of this is voluntary," he said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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