258 people have tested positive for coronavirus

  • 2020-03-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Altogether 258 people in Estonia had tested positive for coronavirus as of Wednesday morning; since Jan. 31, in total 2,020 COVID-19 tests have been carried out in this country. 

Most of the patients with coronavirus have mild symptoms. Broken down by region, the highest number of affected people reside in Harju and Saare counties. The exact county-based numbers of samples that tested positive on Tuesday will be announced later on Wednesday, the Health Board said.

Three people are currently being treated for the virus in hospital, one of whom has more serious symptoms. The infected are treated at Parnu Hospital and the University of Tartu Hospital. 

The health institutions with the capability for coronavirus testing at present are the Health Board, University of Tartu Hospital, Synlab, North Estonia Medical Center, East-Viru Central Hospital and Parnu Hospital.

The labs at present are capable of analyzing 500-600 samples per day. The capability for testing is sufficient for the people who need to be tested -- primarily people who are seriously ill and people in risk groups, including the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. 

Testing of random samples of residents is planned to be applied only to the people on the so-called front line, who might transmit the virus further to risk group patients -- health workers and personnel at care institutions, as well as other people providing vital services. Personal protection equipment and testing equipment, including diagnostic preparations, are in short supply in all of the European Union and it has to be kept in mind that stocks need to last for a longer period of time, apparently months.  

In order to use health care resources as sustainably as possible, and considering the increasing spread of the virus, testing of people with milder symptoms of viral illness is no longer appropriate. This is the strategy used in the phase of viral epidemics where efforts are directed towards limiting local spread, and no longer towards preventing the spread from reaching Estonia.