Volunteers have rallied round to help out a municipal care home in Põlva, after a coronavirus outbreak not only infected well over half the residents, but also left the facility with only two or three staff members able to work. The call to action came on last Friday's edition of ETV current affairs show 'Ringvaade'.
Catching up with developments on Monday's "Ringvaade" Monday, Aet Olle, the care home's manager, said that: "Immediately after [Thursday's] chat, an e-mail came with an offer from one person; another message had come in while the interview was still in progress," adding that more offers of help had followed.
"We will have a team staffed by volunteers set up by the end of this week," Olle added, saying that these included not only former care workers, but also people from completely different walks of life.
Over 20 of the 37 nursing home residents have contracted the virus, Olle said, with two requiring hospitalizations, while among staff, rapid testing last week revealed several positive cases and only two key staff were available for work on Friday.
The coronavirus situation will not improve this week, and the additional help will be required next week as well, Olle said, expressing the hope that some of this week's volunteers will come back, or even find care work to be their vocation longer term
Nonetheless, the situation had been so tough, Olle said, that she had considered resignation, but thanks to the support from the volunteers and her family and friends, there was no need to do that for as long as vulnerable people were at risk.
Põlva rural municipality, population 13,000, has been the focus of media attention since late last week, when its coronavirus crisis committee called for more stringent measures to be put in place nationwide. The municipality's mayor signaled that this line had been retreated from, after Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that stricter restrictions could indeed be put in place - but only in Põlva municipality.
Editor: Andrew Whyte