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Survey gives an overview of coronavirus prevalence before the new school year

Today, the new wave of the coronavirus prevalence survey led by the University of Tartu starts. Based on the most recent data, an overview of the prevalence of coronavirus in the adult population will be available by 30 August. 

Despite a warm summer, the prevalence of coronavirus in Estonia has been gradually increasing since the end of June. Data from the Health Board show that we are currently at the moderate or yellow risk level in terms of the number of new hospitalisations. As the national testing strategy no longer foresees continuous large-scale testing, the prevalence study is the only way to get a complete picture of the virus prevalence in the adult population. 

According to the head of the prevalence study, University of Tartu Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda, the dominant coronavirus strain currently spreading is omicron-5, which is highly contagious and from which earlier coronavirus infection usually provides no protection. "Current prevalence data is based mainly on hospitalised 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," Kalda explained. 

Participation in the study 

During the wave taking place until 29 August, about 2,500 random-sampled adults are invited to participate in the survey. The survey company Kantar Emor carries out phone interviews with participants. After the interview, participants get a web link for registration to testing or a call from the call centre operated by Medicum and Synlab to make an appointment for testing at a suitable testing site. 

At the testing site, a nasopharyngeal sample is taken, and a venous blood sample can be given to determine the level of antiviral antibodies. The procedure takes about 10 minutes. Disabled or older people and other people with reduced mobility can request to be visited by a test team at home. 

The participants are informed of the test results within three days. The results are entered in the patient portal. Persons who test positive are contacted by the study team during two to four weeks to monitor the progress of the disease. 

The study is carried out by a broad-based research group of the University of Tartu in cooperation with Synlab Eesti, Medicum and Kantar Emor. For more information about the detection of Covid-19 antibodies, see the coronavirus testing website. For more information about the coronavirus prevalence study, see the University of Tartu website

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