Study: More people on Saaremaa exposed to coronavirus than expected

Kuressaare Hospital.
Kuressaare Hospital. Source: Margus Muld/ERR

More residents on the island of Saaremaa may have been exposed to coronavirus than previously thought, the initial results of a new study show.

This week a new study started which allows residents Saaremaa to be tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their blood at Kuressaare Hospital. A blood sample shows if a person has been exposed to the coronavirus.

The study, which will last until the end of the year and is being funded by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF), costs over €155,000. It was not possible to say exactly when the EHIF would start large-scale testing in other counties.

Edward Laane, medical manager of Kuressaare Hospital, said the testing gives a better overview of the outbreak of the virus in Saaremaa which took place in the spring.

He said the initial results from Saaremaa are surprising and showed that of the 80 people tested, 12 of them had a positive result.

"We can officially say that 15 percent of those who have taken the test have been exposed to the virus, even if there have been no symptoms," Laane said.

 "An antibody study published a month ago showed that every sixth islander may have been exposed to the virus. And now we see there may be an even higher number."

Saare County was a former outbreak zone in March, April and May. To find out more read ERR News' timeline of events on the islands.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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