People in 13 care homes across Estonia have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said on Monday. There are 178 care homes in total in the country.
In four care homes the number of infected people is great. Two of these care homes are located in Saaremaa, one in Ida-Viru County and one in Tartu County, spokespeople for the Health Board said.
In the rest of the care homes one or two residents or workers have tested positive for the virus and no new positive cases have been discovered in the past couple of weeks.
Triin Raag, head of care services at the crisis management headquarters of the Estonian Health Board said: "Being a part of the society, care homes have not been left untouched by COVID-19. Looking at the total number of care homes and the numbers of people they have in their care, due recognition has to be given to the professional work of the managers of the care homes and their workers."
Raag added: "Care workers engage in preserving people's lives, and often they get too little attention for this laudable work. It is thanks to the workers in the care homes in particular that our next-of-kin are kept safe."
Since elderly people and people with chronic illnesses are one of most at-risk groups most threatened by COVID-19, care homes have had additional restrictions placed on them by the government during the emergency situation.
There are approximately 150 people working to provide round-the-clock care service predominantly for elderly in Estonia. Residents of general care homes number almost 9,000 in total.
In connection with the emergency situation declared in Estonia, a prohibition on visiting is in effect in all social care institutions, hospitals and penitentiary institutions until at least May 1.
Several care home residents have died after contracting COVID-19.
Editor: Helen Wright