Viljandi County care home focal point of latest coronavirus outbreak ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A coronavirus social distancing sign (photo is illustrative).
A coronavirus social distancing sign (photo is illustrative). Source: Helen Wright / ERR

Another care home in Estonia has become the focal point of a coronavirus outbreak, this time in Viljandi County. Forty-seven care home residents and staff have so far been infected in the outbreak.

As a result of extensive sample taking on Thursday, approximately 26 new infections were discovered at the site, in the village of Lohavere, just outside Suure-Jaani, and about 100 km south of Tallinn.

The case is related to local outbreaks in the region.

The home's head, Marika Tirmaste, says work organization has become much harder due to staff shortages

Tirmaste said that there was only one nurse able to work as of noon on Friday, with finding temporary replacements a challenge.

"We have had two very lovely volunteers who have come to the rescue so far," Tirmaste added.

Viljandi County saw 22 new cases Thursday and 16 on Friday, with most new infections being among peope living or working near in or near Suure-Jaani town.

Some care home residents have the place of abode listed in the population registry based on, for instance, the last place they were living in before going to the home. This means that not all of the home's new cases are accounted for in Viljandi County's or the Health Board's southern district's tally.

The first case in the Lohavere outbreak was detected on new year's day, with zones immediately created in the large building to separate those infected and those healthy.

"One employee felt unwell, we sent them to be tested and it was discovered that they were COVID-19 positive," Tirmaste said.

The timing may have been the result of visitors coming to the home on or close to New Year's Eve, who may have brought the virus in with them. Alternatively, a member of staff may have been the vector, it is reported.

Nevertheless, the virus began to spread, with testing revealing 47 cases at the time of writing. The facility has 75 residents, BNS reports, citing regional daily Sakala.

Care home residents are generally considered an at-risk group, and vaccinations are already underway nationwide, though their completion hinges on continued vaccine supplies and getting all the first priority health-care workers inoculated.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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