New plan for COVID-19 spread prevention created by family physicians

Face masks and disinfectant.
Face masks and disinfectant. Source: ERR

The Family Physicians Association of Estonia (Eesti Perearstide Selts) has developed a new set of guidelines for patients who have developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

As stated in a press release sent out Thursday: "Recent outbreaks show how important awareness and responsibility is and with these guidelines, we wish to remind everyone what the main principles of health behavior are regarding the virus. Following these directives affects all of our health."

Dr. Karmen Joller, board member at the Estonian Family Physicians Association, explained: "As doctors, we want to remind everyone that their health is their own responsibility and someone with symptoms should stay home. A physician can only diagnose you after test results come back and that takes time - the person could already be infectious.

"We were able to beat the virus in spring and we have had an incredible break. Right now, it is time to gather ourselves and make an effort again. We do not actually need much: In spring, everyone had to stay home but now, only people displaying symptoms should stay home. By caring for each other, we can alleviate the spread once again, if not stop it altogether."

The new guidelines are as follows:

If you are ill, stay home!

Self-isolation is necessary even if you have light upper respiratory symptoms or even just one of the known symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat).

Contact your family physician to be referred for testing.

Do not avoid testing. If it turns out you have COVID-19, it is critical that people around you would also be made aware.

Close contact is defined as a situation where people are closer than 2 meters to each other within a 15-minute period. Those people should be more cautious about their health state, and contact their family physician immediately when symptoms arise.

If your health situation needs clarification, contact your family physician.

Do not be afraid to go to the doctor, as family medicine centers ensure no contact is made between patients. Wear a mask when you move around outside of your home, but also be aware of the correct ways to wear one (i.e. covering nose and mouth and not just mouth, or just chin etc. - ed.).

Family physicians refer people for testing only on the basis of medical needs.

Family physicians will not refer people with no symptoms for testing. If testing is necessary for work purposes, this will be arranged by the employer or the employee themselves.

Remember, until final diagnosis, we can not be sure which virus we are dealing with.

Preliminary information on symptoms and the patients' condition should not be used to draw final conclusions. Stay home when you have symptoms, regardless of diagnosis! Tests can produce a false negative at times, meaning the person is infectious but the test does not show it.

Cough and/or a runny nose can be caused by many things and does not necessarily mean a person is infectious.

Do not criticize people who sneeze or cough in public spaces, if they follow general hygiene rules.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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