Close to 100 COVID-19 tests conducted at a care home following a staff member contracting the virus have returned negative, Baltic News Service reports. This does not mean that no new infections will be found there, however.
Samples were taken at the care home in Väike-Maarja, Lääne-Viru County, on Thursday, after an emplyee had tested positive for coronavirus. All of these have returned negative, regional daily Virumaa Teataja (part of the Postimees Group) reports.
Rural municipality mayor Indrek Kesküla told the newspaper that the tests show the state of play as it was Thursday, and not that no further cases of the virus at the home would later emerge, given its two-week incubation period.
"Since the illness has an incubation period, we must keep our guard up for two weeks and avoid contacts as much as possible," Kesküla said.
The 65 residents and around 20 staff are to be tested again next week, according to BNS.
Leaders of the municipality gathered for an emergency meeting on Friday to assess risks and set out guidelines for institutions and residents in the area, whose sports facilities and saunas will be closed next week. While such facilities are generally open in Estonia now, local municipalities can take, and have been taking, the decision to make closures in the case of coronavirus outbreaks locally.
Parents with small children in Väike-Maarja are advised to keep their offspring away from kindergarten for the meantime, and all cultural events have been canceled.
The care home staff member reportedly contracted the virus at a family party, which had in turn vectored from a carrier who had been outside Estonia, according to Health Board (Terviseamet) spokesperson Marje Muusikus.
Martin Kadai, head of the emergency medicine department at the Health Board, has said that the increase in the numbers of coronavirus cases in Estonia of late can be partly ascribed to the infection coming to Estonia via people arriving from Finland and Sweden, since travel restrictions were lifted. Both countries have higher COVID-19 rates than Estonia; those arriving from Sweden must self-quarantine for 14 days in any case.
"We have to take into account that the number of cases is higher in Finland and Sweden," Kadai recently told public broadcaster ERR, adding his concerns that members of the public have been going to work while exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, which would also, obviously, propagate the virus.
Editor: Andrew Whyte