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University of Tartu starts new coronavirus prevalence study

Coronavirus testing at Tallinn Airport.
Coronavirus testing at Tallinn Airport. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

More than 2,000 people will take part in the University of Tartu's latest coronavirus prevalence study which starts today (August 17). The survey will give an overview of the situation in Estonia before the school year starts.

The study will end on August 29 and will test 2,500 people at random. They will be asked to carry out a phone interview with pollster Kantar Emor and then test for coronavirus at Medicum and Synlab.

As large-scale testing is no longer being carried out, the new prevalence study is the only way to get a complete picture of the virus prevalence in the adult population, the university said on Wednesday.

Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda, head of the prevalence study, said: "Current prevalence data is based mainly on hospitalized cases, so there is no good picture of the prevalence of the virus in the general adult population. The starting survey wave will give us an overview of the virus situation just before the start of the school year to better assess the risk scenarios for the autumn."  

Despite a warm summer, coronavirus cases have been spreading since the end of June and Omicron-5 is the dominant strain. The variant is highly contagious and earlier strains usually provide no protection.

Data from the Health Board show that Estonia is currently at the moderate or yellow risk level in terms of the number of new hospitalizations.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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