“People have become less vigilant and no longer stay home as soon as they exhibit the first symptoms,” Luht emphasized. The board’s coronavirus detectives often learn that people have gone to work or events after exhibiting light symptoms. “And so the virus spreads,” she added.
There are 29 separate outbreaks in Southern Estonia involving a total of 471 people. “Most are workplaces, plus eight family and six nursing home outbreaks,” Luht said. Family outbreaks usually start at events, such as weddings, birthday and bachelor’s parties.
Even though the southern region has a lot of workplace outbreaks, we are rather worried about nursing homes. “We have six nursing home outbreaks and over 100 infected between them,” Luht said. Employees usually bring in the infection. “There are cases where vaccinated employees get infected because the virus is in their family and bring the virus in,” the head of Health Board South said.
Deputy Director of the Health Board Mari-Anne Härma said regular testing of vaccinated staff should be considered, especially if they have had close contact with patients. Tiia Luht told Postimees that nursing homes test their employees. “Nursing homes are very careful also in terms of testing and know when employees have Covid patients at home. They are trying to cope. But it is difficult in the current situation,” she said.
A lot of working teams are quarantined today, while employers could offer preventive testing. Luht said that the virus has an easier time spreading in nursing homes because people are frailer there. “People in nursing homes already have a weakened immune system, with strict rules and effective use of personal protective among effective measures,” she explained.
Virus most common in Southern Estonia
The start of the school year has also produced several infections in schools. “We had an infected child on the first day of school. They went to school in the morning, got tested in the afternoon and were diagnosed by the same evening,” Luht said.
Health Board South has also found that people tend to believe the coronavirus does not spread at night. “Certain bars, entertainment establishments are full of people. Some places do check coronavirus certificates,” Luht said. The board has checked establishments on its own and with the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) to demonstrate how to use rapid testing effectively. “But we still hear about places not checking certificates every now and then. I visited a restaurant in Tartu today and was not asked to produce my digital certificate or wear a mask,” Luht said.