Tallinn schools seeing more and more coronavirus outbreaks

Ester Öpik, Tallinn coronavirus prevention coordinator.
Ester Öpik, Tallinn coronavirus prevention coordinator. Source: ERR

While Tallinn is not currently the region of the country most affected by the coronavirus, that situation can soon change, Ester Öpik, coordinator of coronavirus prevention measures at the City of Tallinn's Strategic Management Office, says, particularly with the impending half-term school break and given the already rising numbers of outbreaks.

Öpik said that while the third wave has not reached Tallinn yet, it will do.

"As we remember from the first and second waves, the infection has always started from the south [of Estonia]. Therefore, the third wave has not yet fully reached Tallinn, but we cannot escape it and the numbers will unfortunately rise," Õpik, who was head of the Health Board's (Terviseamet) northern district when the pandemic first arrived, told daily Postimees on Wednesday.

"There were 222 sick students in Tallinn in the first week of October, rising to 291 in the second week, while unfortunately this number is expected to continue to increase," she went on, adding that it is the desire of all for schools to continue and teachers can do their work as safely as possible.

The approaching half-term break is also a factor, given the rising rates and the fact that schoolchildren may use the time to visit family and friends and therefore be more mobile than during term-time.

The time off can also be used to reinvigorate the vaccination drive, particularly for teachers, Öpik said.

1,200 teachers from the capital's municipal schools have already registered to get their third vaccine dose, BNS reports.

"We will try to make sure that everyone who needs it receives a booster dose already during the school holidays," Opik added.

Fifty-one teachers fell ill with covid in the first week of October, and 73 in the second week, BNS reports. The number of teachers quarantining was 26 in week one of October, more than doubling to 54 a week later.

Tallinn's seven-day coronavirus infection rate currently stands at 496 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with a 590 per 100,000 national average.

Of the 79 local government districts, Tallinn lies in 54th place, while 46 coronavirus outbreaks in schools have been identified, compared with 37 a week ago. "Every week we move up by an increment of 10 or more," Öpik said.

The number of school classes with at least one identified coronavirus cases has risen from 161 in early October to over 200 now, she added.

Monitoring health, isolating when symptoms present or after coming into contact with a coronavirus carrier, obtaining booster doses or getting vaccinated for the first or second time if necessary are all important measures to take in order to curb the spread, she added.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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