Härma: New coronavirus outbreak starting in Harju County and Tallinn

Wednesday's record number of new coronavirus cases may not stay a record for long as Deputy Director General of the Health Board Mari-Anne Härma said there is the beginning of a new outbreak in Harju County and Tallinn.

Speaking to ERR on Wednesday about today's record 125 new cases, Härma said: "We really can't talk about the subsidence of the second wave... /--/ We are now seeing the beginning of an outbreak."

She said many of the sources of infection of the cases announced today are still be traced. In Tallinn, some outbreaks have increased in size and there is an outbreak at a prison. There was also an outbreak at a carehome in Rapla County announced on Wednesday.

Härma said at the moment mainly working age people are mostly being infected rather than children or the elderly. The coronavirus is being caught in workplaces and then spreading at home and some cases are also being brought in from abroad.

Replying to a question about how many infections come from unknown sources, Härma said: "At the moment we see more unknown infections in Harju County, about 20 percent. This suggests that it is the beginning of a larger outbreak and it will be some time before these epidemiological links are established."

Approximately a quarter of people have no symptoms, Härma said, which is worrying and she said more attention should be paid to social distancing in crowded places such as shops and on public transport. She advised people to wear a mask and to download the HOIA coronavirus exposure notification app.

Härma said it was not possible to tell if the school holidays had played any part in the recent increase in COVID-19 cases. Cases of the disease brought from abroad were also slightly higher last week, which could indicate travel has played a part, she said.

Replying to a question about whether there is a hidden spread and whether the Health Board is still in control, Härma said she hopes the agency is but that there are always doubts at the beginning of an outbreak.

She said: "Looking at Tallinn and Harju County's numbers at the moment, we are a little worried because the share of positive tests is increasing and the number of tests has decreased. The beginning of an outbreak is always a little complicated, but you have to give it a little time, people are cooperating very well now, there is no problem with that. If time is given and cooperation works well, generally, we will still be able to control these outbreaks."

On Wednesday, 125 new cases of COVID-19 has been reported in the past 24 hours. The previous highest number - 93 new coronavirus cases - was recorded on April 2.

A total of 1,987 primary coronavirus tests were performed in the past 24 hours, giving a positive rate of 6.29 percent – compared with 2.30 percent the previous day.

Estonia's 14-day COVID-19 rate per 100,000 inhabitants is 48.46, up from 42.06 yesterday. 

To view more data, visit koroonakaart.

How can the spread of coronavirus be stopped?

  • The most efficient measure is keeping your distance.
  • In crowded places and especially indoors where it is not possible to keep your distance from other people, it is advisable to wear a mask.
  • Closed, crowded spaces should be avoided if possible.
  • Hands must be washed frequently with soap and warm water.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissue.
  • Anyone who becomes ill should stay at home, even if their symptoms are mild.
  • People who develop any symptoms should contact their family physician.

Download 'HOIA'

You can also download Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app 'HOIA' which will alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus.

The free app can be downloaded at the Google Play Store or App Store. Read ERR News' feature about the app here. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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