Health Board traces source of coronavirus infection at Lihula care home

Lihula Südamekodu care home.
Lihula Südamekodu care home. Source: ERR

According to Lääneranna municipal government, the Health Board has determined how the novel coronavirus spread to the Südamekodu care home in Lihula, resulting in the infection of a total of 13 care home residents. In addition to the infected care home director, it was also confirmed Wednesday that another employee of the facility had likewise been infected with the COVID-19 virus.

For a long time, no one was sure how the coronavirus had spread to the care home in Lihula. On Wednesday, however, Lääneranna municipal government announced that the Health Board's Western Regional Department had finally determined the source of the infection.

On April 30, an individual from Pärnu who had tested negative for the virus a few days prior attended a job interview at the care home.

"Upon arriving for the job interview, the individual in question was provided with a mask and asked to disinfect their hands," the municipality said. "A total of three people were present at the interview — two care home employees, one of whom was the director who tested positive on May 8. The other person in the room was likewise a care home employee, but they have been tested four times already, and each time tested negative. According to the Health Board, they managed to convince the person at the job interview in question to take a repeat test, which came up positive. According to the care home director, the interviewee did not come in contact with clients at the care home."

According to the municipality, the Health Board confirmed on Wednesday that in addition to the director, one other employee of the Lihula care home has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and they are currently quarantined at home. The care home director, who had fallen ill earlier already, confirmed that they and their partner are likewise quarantining at home. Claims that they were hospitalized are unfounded.

Rumors of son spreading virus untrue

"Speaking of rumors, the care home director confirmed that their son, who is allegedly back from Australia and, as claimed to the Health Board, is spreading the virus in town, has not visited Estonia in five years and is currently still in Australia," the municipality added.

According to the municipality, the Health Board also said that there are no plans to conduct coronavirus testing at other facilities in Lihula, including at commercial enterprises.

"Widespread testing is no magic wand that will take the fear away," Lääneranna Municipality said. "Rather, it has the opposite effect and creates a false sense of security. As we wrote, the individual who had come to the job interview had tested negative beforehand, and it is apparently because of that that they risked coming to the interview as well. We all know by now how that ended, however. On that note, the person who came to the job interview still has yet to exhibit a single symptom."

There are currently a total of 87 clients receiving care at the Südamekodu care home in Lihula, 23 of whom are in the women's wing, 13 in turn of whom have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. All 13 clients to test positive for the virus have been hospitalized for monitoring — ten at Pärnu Hospital and three at West Tallinn Central Hospital. Everyone who has tested positive for the virus is in good condition, the municipal government confirmed.

On May 19, several wings and buildings of the Lihula care home were fully disinfected, and clients who tested negative for the virus were relocated to newly disinfected rooms.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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