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Testing for the virus

Coronavirus testing can determine whether a person is carrying the virus or not, but does not serve any healing characteristics.  It is important to be aware that the tests can give a false-negative result when administered. Meaning, the person being tested is actually positive. Majority of the cases have mild symptoms that can be treated as other viral diseases.

People with the symptoms of the disease are tested, with the emphasis to the ones belonging to a risk group, patients who have received a medical indication and those who are hospitalized with the signs of viral disease. The necessity for the test is determined by a general practitioner or a medical specialist. Random sampling will be applied to people who are in contact with a lot of people at work and can potentially infect others.

 

Getting tested?

Who is being tested for coronavirus, how, and why?

Coronavirus test will be done for:

  • people at any age with symptoms
  • people at any age with any medical indication
  • people receiving hospital in-patient care with virus symptoms

The need for testing is determined by the family doctor who has been provided with specific guidelines which have been agreed jointly by family doctors and the Health Board. The guidelines will help the doctor to make decisions regarding the coronavirus. The family doctor takes into account all the recommendations in the guidelines and evaluates each patient case separately. When deciding, the doctor will take into account the patient’s symptoms, general health and all related diseases. If necessary, the family doctor will direct the patient for testing.

If a person falls ill or has any other health concerns, they should first contact their family doctor or the family doctor help line 1220.

What should I do if I get sick?

  • If you have fallen ill, call your family doctor. The family doctor will evaluate the need for testing and give medical advice. If testing is necessary, the family doctor will send the order to the laboratory and they will call you to book a time and place of testing. Wait for the call!

  • Make sure that your family doctor has your phone number, otherwise the call centre cannot contact you.

  • If you have received the referral note from the family doctor, you can make your own appointment for coronavirus testing. A short message will be sent to the registered telephone number by the public testing system after receipt of the letter of referral, which includes the e-registration link. The message is received by people aged 18 and more. The patient needs to identify himself by using his ID card or a mobile ID in the e-registration environment. This allows for fast booking time, and there will be no need to wait for the call from the testing centre. This service is a voluntary and additional option. People who are not willing to use the e-registration or who cannot receive the text message due to technical problems, will receive a phone call from the testing centre in the order of referral letters received.

  • Bring a personal identification document and arrive in time. Nasal swab will be taken upon presenting your identification. Tests will be carried out only for persons with a digital referral from a family doctor and who have registered to get tested. Do not bring along family members when you come for a test More information https://synlab.ee/algab-perearsti-saatekirjaga-koroonaviiruse-laiendatud-testimine/.

  • If you cannot go to the testing location by car, an appointment will be made over the phone for a tester to come to your home.

  • After you have been tested, stay at home and wait for the results. You will receive the results within two working days. If the result was positive, you will get a phone call. The results will also be entered into the patient portal digilugu.ee.

  • If your test result was positive, remain at home and follow the recommendations of your family doctor!

  • If your condition deteriorates, contact your family doctor or call an ambulance by dialling 112.

If no symptoms have occurred, the isolation is ended 10 days after a positive test. The day of taking the test is considered Day 0. Isolation can be ended only if there have been no symptoms. Isolation is ended by a doctor. If symptoms occur during isolation, the isolation starts again from the occurrence of the symptoms and the patient is considered symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 positive.

Where can I get tested when returning from a high-risk country, and what is the cost?

People arriving on foot at the Port of Tallinn, terminals A and D, can take their test with a clinician from Confido, and people arriving at the Tallinn airport can approach the Qvalitas testing point with their letter of referral. The letter of referral will be provided at the airport. Issuing the letter of referral and taking the test will take about five minutes. Testing will take place on a first-come-first-serve basis at the port and airport. The testing sites are open until the last passenger by boat or plane has arrived.

Passengers arriving from a high-risk country at any other sea port or airport or by train or road transport , can get tested by booking a time with the SYNLAB and Medicum testing centres by calling 678 0000 (Monday-to-Friday 9 am to 5 pm). Priority in testing will be given to those with symptoms of the disease, therefore the waiting time will be one to two days. If you already know your time of arrival, it is recommended to book the test in advance. Tests can be carried out in public testing points in Estonia in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Kuressaare, Võru, Kärdla, Sillamäe, Haapsalu, Rapla, Valga ja Põlva. Additional information on testing can be found https://koroonatestimine.ee/.

People who have the Estonian ID-code can test free-of-charge; foreign nationals can use card-payment to pay for the test.

People arriving to Estonia from at-risk countries who wish to end isolation earlier than the tenth day must be tested not earlier than 72 hours before they arrive in Estonia. The second test can then be done in Estonia not earlier than on the sixth day after the first test. The period of six days will be calculated from the day following the first test. Self-isolation can be terminated early if the results of both tests are negative.

Appointment for a free test (with an Estonian ID code) can be booked by calling 678 0000 (Monday-Friday 9am to 5pm). A test for a fee can be done with all service providers who offer this service.

Under what conditions may an employer require their employees to use personal protective equipment?

The decision to use personal protective equipment must be based on risk analysis. This means that the employer carries out a risk analysis which will show what dangers there are in the work environment. This includes biological dangers, and among them is the possibility of infection with the coronavirus. After that, they can decide what measures should be taken to avoid or reduce related risks. Under § 13 (2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employer has the right to apply stricter health and safety requirements than those required by law.

Personal protective equipment must be used if the risk analysis shows that the danger of infection cannot be avoided or reduced only by shared means of protection such as protective glass to stop the spread of the virus, or through organisational measures such as maintaining distance and making disinfectant available.

The employer must inform their employees of the results of the risk analysis in the working environment, which includes health risks and the measures taken to avoid harm to health. The employer informs their employees of any possible points of danger identified during the risk analysis such as the risk of infection in particular companies or during particular work tasks, and what measures are being taken. As shared protective measures or organisational measures are to be preferred to personal protective equipment, the employer must explain to their employees why it was decided to use personal protective equipment.

The employer must explain why it is necessary to use personal protective equipment and to require its use. When this is explained to the employees it is important that they understand why this requirement has been introduced. If the reasons for the requirement are not explained to the employees, there may be more opposition to complying with it.

If the employee does not comply with the construction, the employer may issue a warning that they may be dismissed if they do not follow the rules. If the employee does not abide by the rules even after the warning, the employer has the right to terminate their employment.

I have a referral to COVID-19 testing. Why has the testing centre not called me yet?

Due to the increase in testing volumes, the waiting time is now a bit longer. If you provided your phone number when the referral was issued, you will be contacted.

When the letter of referral from the family doctor arrives, you can also register yourself to be tested for coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. A short message will be sent to the telephone number provided to the public testing system after receipt of the letter of referral which will allow you to use the e-registration via the enclosed link.

Can the self-isolation time of a close contact be reduced by testing?

A close contact of a person who has a confirmed infection of COVID-19 needs to remain in self-isolation for 10 days.

It is not possible to reduce the 10 calendar day self-isolation period with a test. However, the Health Board does recommend that a close contact do a test after the end of the 10 calendar day self-isolation period, in order to discover a possible case of asymptomatic coronavirus.

Почему в Эстонии пробы на коронавирус берут из носоглотки, а в некоторых других странах – из горла?

Самое важное при заборе пробы – чтобы получаемый материал содержал достаточно частиц вируса. Сейчас аргументом в пользу метода, применяемого в Эстонии, Европе и большинстве других стран мира, служит возможность выявлять вирус еще на ранней стадии. Это позволяет при необходимости быстро применять карантинные меры.

Второй довод – достоверный результат.

По сравнению с пробой из носоглотки, забор слюны действительно проще, но в таком случае следует стандартизировать объем проб (сколько слюны пациента будет достаточно для одной баночки). Следует учитывать и время, затрачиваемое на сбор проб слюны в условиях массового тестирования. При заборе слюны в баночку существует риск запачкать ее снаружи инфекционно опасным материалом – это повышает риск распространения вируса. Что касается чувствительности пробы слюны, пока существуют лишь единичные исследования, а международные организации единогласно не рекомендуют применять этот метод.

What should I do to get tested for the coronavirus?

A precondition for getting tested is having symptoms of the disease. As a rule, symptoms appear 5-6 days after the infection. In some cases, the infected person is contagious a day or two before the symptoms appear.

  • If you have any symptoms, stay at home, and call your family doctor or the family doctor helpline no. +372 6346 630 või 1220 (24/7). The family doctor will decide whether a test is needed and will give treatment advice.

  • When the family doctor has sent the letter of referral to the testing system, a text message will be sent to the adult getting tested (aged 18 or above) on the number provided on the letter of referral. This will allow for booking the time for testing via online booking system. After letter of referral has arrived at the laboratory information system the website gives you access to the website https://www.veebiregistratuur.ee/102/?service=-1_468, and you can book your time for testing. The patient needs to identify themselves with their ID-card or Mobile-ID in the e-registration environment. This service is facultative and is an additional option for people to book their testing time without having to wait for the testing centre to call them.

  • If you do not wish to use e-registration, or you do not receive the text message for technical reasons, then the testing centre will call you for registration, the calls are made in the order of the letters of referral received within one day (calls will be made from Monday to Saturday). If the call center has not contacted you within 48 hours, we recommend contacting the family doctor to check if the phone number included on the letter of referral is correct, and if the letter of referral has been forwarded. If the phone number is correct on the letter of referral, please contact the test call centrr, their opening times are available on the website https://koroonatestimine.ee/klienditugi/.

  • If you have received the time for your nasopharyngeal test and you want to find out additional information regarding location or driving instructions, then this information is available on the website https://koroonatestimine.ee/testimispunktid/.

  • Take an ID document with you to the test and be on time

  • The nasopharyngeal test sample will be taken only from the person who has the electronic letter of referral at an agreed place and time with an ID document. There is no point in coming just in case, only people with a prior registration are tested. You should come alone for the test.

  • Wait for the result. A person who has given a positive sample will receive a call within two working days, the results will also be added to the digilugu.ee patient portal. If the test was negative, the results will be added under the person's digilugu.ee patient information, as there is not enough capacity to call everybody.

  • If your test is positive, stay at home and follow the advice of your family doctor. If your health deteriorates, contact your family doctor again or call an ambulance on 112. 

  • If Covid-19 infection is confirmed you must remain in self-isolation as ordered by your doctor, following the rules as provided in the Order No 336 of the Government of the Republic from October 29, 2020. A person can leave self-isolation only in exceptional circumstances (if the person has received an order to leave their place of residence or permanent stay from a health care worker or a police official, if a health care worker has referred the person to health care services, or in case of an emergency that endangers the person's health or life).

  • The locations of testing points can be found on https://koroonatestimine.ee/testimispunktid/ , information about testing for a fee can be found on https://koroonatestimine.ee/patsiendile/tasuline-testimine/, more information about the test can also be found on the Health Board website https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/uuskoroonaviirus/testimine, and by phone 1247.

How can a foreign national get tested for the coronavirus, if they do not have a family doctor in Estonia?

Foreign nationals and persons without health insurance residing in Estonia must contact the nearest family doctor centre if they display symptoms. Through the family doctor, all patients with symptoms of upper respiratory viral diseases are referred for testing, regardless of age, co-morbidities and health insurance, including patients who are not on the family doctor's list.

Patients with symptoms of upper respiratory viral disease (regardless if they have a family doctor on register or not) can also turn to the general practitioner’s helpline 1220 (Monday-to-Friday 24/7, including public holidays), where they will be referred to a doctor for COVID-19 testing, if necessary (letters of referral will be issued from Monday to Sunday 8am to 22pm). On the family doctor's helpline, family doctors and family nurses provide advice in both Estonian and Russian. Advice in English is offered every day from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Testing is performed for a fee for foreigner nationals, at the airport and ports it costs 52 euros, elsewhere according to the service provider's price list (ranging from 58-75 euros). Testing for a charge is done by:

More detailed information can also be found at www.koroonatestimine.ee.

Important information:

  • Wearing a mask when giving the sample is mandatory.
  • Please come to the test at the exact agreed time (neither sooner nor later).
  • Results are usually returned within 24 hours after the sample has been given, as arranged by the testing authority;
  • The results are also available to people with an Estonian personal identification code in the digilugu.ee environment.
  • The test results are reported by the laboratory to the Health Board, which contacts people who have tested positive.
  • The Health Board recommends remaining in self-isolation until the results have returned.

Can I pay to have a coronavirus test?

You can pay to get a coronavirus test from providers including Confido https://broneerimine.confido.ee/ , Medicum https://www.medicum.ee/ , SYNLAB https://minu.synlab.ee/toode/koroonaviiruse-maaramine , Qvalitas Arstikeskus https://qvalitas.ee/et/ and others.

It is reasonable for people showing signs of illness to take a test or if there is a medical reason for it. People showing no signs of infection do not need to take a test as the test result reflects only the moment of testing and a negative result can create a false sense of security and does not mean there will be no infection in the near future.

I am coming from Russia in a car, where can I get the corona test?

Currently there are 15 public coronavirus testing sites where you can go with a personal identification document at a pre-booked time to give a nasopharyngeal sample for the coronavirus test.

In order to book a time you must call the booking line of the testing centre 678 0000. Calls are taken from Monday to Friday 9.00-17.00.

The testing sites are located at:

  • Tallinn, Haabersti -- Paldiski mnt 104b, next to Saku Concert Hall (SYNLAB tent)
  • Tallinn, Mustamägi -- Ehitajate tee 27, the parking lot of the Mustamäe Health Center (Medicum tent)
  • Tallinn, Lasnamägi -- Narva mnt 95, the Mäe gate of the Tallinn Song Festival Ground (Medicum tent)
  • Tartu -- Laulupeo puiestee 25, near the song festival ground (Qvalitas tent)
  • Viljandi -- the Viljandi market square (SYNLAB bus)
  • Pärnu -- Rannapark P1 the parking lot of Naisterand (Qvalitas tent)
  • Rakvere -- Tuleviku 1, the Rakvere polyclinic (SYNLAB office)
  • Paide -- Tallinna mnt 47, parking lot (SYNLAB bus)
  • Kuressaare -- Aia 25, in front of the main entrance of the Kuressaare hospital
  • Narva -- Joala 20, Narva Gate (Corrigo office)
  • Kohtla-Järve -- Ilmajaama 14, in the parking lot of the G-block (Ida-Viru Central Hospital tent)
  • Hiiumaa -- the location of giving the sample is agreed upon with Hiiumaa Hospital
  • Võru -- Kooli 4, in the parking lot of Kagukeskus, near the car wash (Qvalitas tent)
  • Sillamäe -- Kesk 28, near the swimming pool (Ida-Viru Central Hospital tent)
  • Haapsalu -- Posti 3, next to the Culture Centre, on the corner of Rahu and Vaba (SYNLAB tent)

The newest info on testing sites can be found here.

Why is the coronavirus testing done in Estonia as a nasal swab, when in some other countries a throat swab is taken?

For taking a sample, the most important thing is that the sample should contain a sufficient amount of virus material. Regarding the method used currently in Estonia, in Europe, and most of the world, it enables to detect the virus in its´ early stages which allows to quarantine the patient immediately.

The second advantage is related to the reliability of the test.

Using a spit test as an alternative to nasal swab would be easier but the sample quantity would need to be standardised (the sufficient quantity of spit provided as a sample). If mass testing is necessary, then the time factor is important, considering how long it would take to spit versus how long it will take to get a nasal swab. With a spit test there is an additional hazard of cross-contamination of the container, and a risk to further the spread of the virus. There have been only a few studies carried out for spit testing, and there are no clear recommendations regarding spit tests from international organisations.

How can a person get tested if they have been in close contact with an infected person?

A person who has been in close contact with a person with a confirmed infection of COVID-19 must remain in isolation for 10 days from the most recent contact with the infected person.

If any symptoms of illness occur during self-isolation, you must contact your family doctor. In this case, the family doctor will provide you with the letter of referral for testing.

The Health Board recommends that a close contact do a test after the end of the 10 calendar day quarantine period, in order to discover a possible case of asymptomatic coronavirus. Instructions for booking a testing time are given by the Health Board or from the state information phone line 1247.

A close contact of an infected person who has learned about their contact via a notification from the HOIA mobile app, should contact the Health Board.

The test is free for persons who have been in close contact with an infected person.

How can I get re-tested?

Re-testing is available to passengers who have come to Estonia from countries at-risk from COVID-19 or have travelled through an at-risk country. Information about the at-risk countries can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs home page.

If you the Estonian ID-card and the national identification number:

  • re-testing is optional, taking the second tests helps to reduce the 10-day restriction on freedom of movement period, provided the results of both tests are negative.

  • re-testing can be done on the sixth day after the results of the first test after arrival in Estonia.

  • re-testing is free of charge for passengers who have arrived in Estonia from an at-risk country or travelled through an at-risk country.

  • the second test has to be booked in advance and can be taken only at public testing points in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Võru, Kuressaare, Kärdla, Haapsalu, Rapla, Sillamäe, Valga and Põlva.

  • the call centre will make an appointment for the second test.

People who have done their first test in another country (i.e. not at the border) must call to the call centre for people crossing the border 678 0000 (Monday to Friday 9pm to 5pm).

Foreign nationals who do not have an Estonian ID-card or the national identification number but who are nationals of countries belonging to the European Union common list:

  • re-testing is optional, taking the second tests helps to reduce the 10-day restriction on freedom of movement period, provided the results of both tests are negative.

  • re-testing can be done on the sixth day after the results of the first test after arrival in Estonia.

  • re-testing can be done for a fee.

  • the second test has to be booked in advance and can be taken only at public testing points in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Võru, Kuressaare and Kärdla.

  • you need to make your own appointment for re-testing with the service provider and pay a fee for the test.

Foreign nationals who do not have an Estonian ID-card or the national identification number, and who are nationals of third countries outside the European Union (including, for example, the Russian Federation and Ukraine) and who arrive in Estonia to work or study:

  • re-testing is compulsory. There is no possibility to shorten the period of self-isolation.

  • re-testing can be done from the tenth day after arrival to Estonia.

  • re-testing can be done for a fee.

  • the second test has to be booked in advance and can be taken only at public testing points in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Viljandi, Paide, Rakvere, Võru, Kuressaare and Kärdla.

  • you need to make your own appointment for re-testing with the service provider and pay a fee for the test.

Foreign nationals can take a test for a fee at all the service providers who offer this option, such as: Confido, Medicum, SYNLAB, Qvalitas Arstikeskus

 


koroonatest.ee

 

Before you call your family doctor, test how probable it is that your health problem is the coronavirus. For that, a digital test has been created on the web page koroonatest.ee.


If you become sick, call your family doctor!

 

The family doctor will assess the need for testing and give health advice. If the family doctor considers it necessary to administer the test, she will give a digital referral. The designated testing centre will then call the patient and fix the exact time and location for testing.


See the results of your test in the patient portal, digilugu

 

A person who has given a positive sample will definitely get a phone call. If the sample was negative, the person will find the results of the analysis in the patient portal because there is not enough capacity to call everybody. Because of the heavy load, it might take time to carry out the test and notify of the results.

 

Coronavirus tests

 

How quickly can I have the results of the virus test?

How long does it take for the Health Board to receive the results of a coronavirus test after testing? Will the person tested get a phone call only if the test came back positive or regardless of the result?

Persons who have tested positive will definitely receive a phone call. Testing and providing information on the test results takes time due to excessive workload, but usually the results come in within two days.

When the person tests negative, the test results will be entered to the digital Patient Portal digilugu.ee, because it is not possible to call every person who has been tested. You can access digilugu.ee website using your ID-card or Mobile-ID.

Meaning of the results of the virus test

 

Last updated: 2 December 2020