Professor: Situation in Saare County is not as bad as in Italy

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

Even though a lot of people have been infected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Saare County, the situation is not as bad as in Bergamo, Italy, professor Krista Fischer of the University of Tartu said on Tuesday.

Saare County, which includes the island of Saaremaa, Muhu and several smaller islands, is the epicenter of Estonia's coronavirus outbreak. The region has the highest recorded positive cases of the disease in the country,

Professor of mathematical statistics at the University of Tartu, who models the spread of the coronavirus, Krista Fischer, there are many patients in Saaremaa, but the situation is not as bad as in Bergamo, which was one of the worst-hit regions of Italy. Almost half of the infected have needed hospital treatment in Saaremaa, while there are not many patients in intensive care.

"This number is not so high to believe that it has spread very largely in Saaremaa," Fischer said.

The number of patients in Saaremaa has also increased because of mass testing in hospitals and nursing homes.

"Some people who are likely to move around a lot, to be in contact with a lot of people, have been carriers of the infection. We need to think about how the virus got into the nursing homes, how it got to different departments in the hospital," Fischer said.

Irja Lutsar and Krista Fischer. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR/Tartu Ülikool

Virology professor Irja Lutsar is watching what is happening in Saare County with concern and she reminds people to wear masks and follow the restrictions when they go to the grocery stores.

Although there was also a local outbreak in Võru during the epidemic, the number of new infections is not high. As of Tuesday, 70 people has tested positive for the disease in the county, compared to more than 300 in Harju County and over 400 in Saare County, There have even been days where no infects have been discovered.

"Võru has managed it very professionally, including the testing," said Head of the Emergency Medicine Department of the Health Board Martin Kadai.

"It seems that the spread of the virus has been brought under control. This is very clearly indicated by the fact the number of patients needing patients hospital treatment in Võru County is not that high" he added.

This week, the researchers hope to finish a model of the possible further spread of the coronavirus in Saare County. So far, ten percent of the population in Saaremaa has been tested, and the results show that the disease has spread evenly across the island.

Currently, two inter-hospital outbreaks have been confirmed in Estonia - in Kuressaare and in the North-Estonian Medical Center.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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