Health Board: Increased number of referrals creating testing queues

A COVID-19 testing tent during the peak of the pandemic in spring, in this case in Viljandi.
A COVID-19 testing tent during the peak of the pandemic in spring, in this case in Viljandi. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Family doctors are issuing 16 times more coronavirus testing referrals than they did at the beginning of August, which is why queues may develop for coronavirus testing, Simmo Saar, head of communications for the Health Board, told Vikerraadio.

Saar said that while family doctors issued a total of around 200 referrals a month ago, referrals for the whole country numbered 3,200 on Monday this week. He added that the board's testing partners Synlab and Medicum are trying to test people as quickly as possible.

Saar described as highly regrettable cases where a child who is suffering from ear pain needs to wait for five days before getting tested that allows them to go see their family doctor.

"That child's pain and their parents' concern are familiar only to those who have been in such situations," Saar said, adding that luckily, such cases still number few.

Saar said that laboratory capacity is one thing, while testing capacity is another. While labs are on top of analyzing test samples, the board's partners need people to administer tests and take samples to the lab, the spokesperson said.

This Friday brought news of an outbreak at a kindergarten where three children and four adults have taken ill. According to Saar, the important thing is to determine the index or first patient.

"The virus does transmit from an adult to children, meaning that if the index patient was an adult, they could have infected the children and other adults," Saar explained, adding that small children usually only suffer from a mild version of the disease.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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