What to do if you are a close contact?

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A close contact is considered to be a person who has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person for at least 15 minutes and closer than two meters. The contact time is calculated as a total during 24 hours (e.g. 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes during the afternoon, and 5 minutes in the evening makes a total of 15 minutes).

A person who has COVID-19 is infectious for about 2 days prior to and up to 10 days after becoming symptomatic.

For instance, a close contact is a person who:

  • lives in the same household with a person who has COVID-19 (e.g. family members);
  • has been in physical contact with a person who has COVID-19 (e.g. shaking hands);
  • has been in direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who has COVID-19 without using protective equipment (e.g. has been coughed on, used a patient's paper tissue with bare hands);
  • has been in the same room with a person who has COVID-19 (e.g. classroom, conference room, waiting room of a hospital, work room etc.), if the room does not have adequate ventilation and/or personal protective equipment was not used, and there is a risk of coming in contact with the virus.

The notification of being a close contact can, for instance, come from the sick person you were in contact with, the Health Board or through the HOIA app. If the notification is about being a close contact and a self-isolation period that is about to end, the reason might be that the sick person went to do the test late or the HOIA app was notified late. The Health Board gets the information about the sick person and her close contacts only when the positive results of the sick person's test have come in and the sick person has been contacted. The HOIA app can also notify close contacts only if the sick person has entered the information into the app.

If you were in close contact with an infected person, you have to stay home in self-isolation for 10 days, unless you have completed a course of vaccinations within the past year (or completed the course and received a complementary dose of the vaccine), recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days ago, or recovered from the disease and received one dose of the vaccine (the so-called equated to a vaccinated person).

The isolation days are calculated from when the close contact took place, the isolation calculator of the Family Medicine Association (in Estonian) helps to calculate the days.

Last updated: 18.10.2021 18:52

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If you were in close contact with an infected person, you have to stay home in self-isolation for 10 days unless:

  • you have recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days ago;
  • you have completed the course of COVID-19 vaccinations, achieved maximum protection after the last dose of the vaccine and no more than one year has passed since your last dose of the vaccine;
  • You have completed the course of vaccinations against COVID-19, achieved maximum protection and received a complementary dose of the vaccine (the so-called additional or booster dose) after completing the course and no more than one year has passed from the complementary dose;
  • you are considered to be the same as vaccinated, i.e. after recovery from COVID-19 you have received one dose of the vaccine, achieved maximum protection after the vaccine dose and no more than one year has passed since your last dose of the vaccine, or you have been infected with COVID-19 after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, have recovered from COVID-19 and no more than one year has passed from the date of the SARS-CoV-2 test confirming the diagnosis or the confirmation of the diagnosis.

If you have not recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccinated, and are a close contact, you have to remain in self-isolation for 10 days and stay home.

What does self-isolation mean?

The compulsory period of self-isolation is 10 days. The days are counted from when the close contact took place.

A person who has been sent to self-isolation is not allowed to go to work, school (except in the case of simplified quarantine), public places or to use public transport. It is obligatory to stay home. Instead of visiting the store or the pharmacy, you should turn to your acquaintances or use the e-store to order the necessary items. If you order food or essential items by courier, you have to avoid direct contact. It is only allowed to leave your home if there is an urgent need, e.g. to go to the doctor or to procure essential items or medicines, if you cannot get them without leaving your home.

If a close contact with a virus carrier took place in a kindergarten or child care, general education school or vocational school, the children and youths who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from COVID-19 have to stay in simplified quarantine.

Last updated: 18.10.2021 18:34

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An employee who has fallen ill must inform the leadership of the institution. A student who has fallen ill must turn to a teacher or a school nurse who will inform the leadership of the institution of the child's condition. The student's parents are informed of the student having fallen ill.

Depending on the age of the child, the he is either sent home or is isolated from others in a room suitable for this under the supervision of a teacher/school nurse until a parent arrives. The person who has fallen ill and the adult who is dealing with him are given a surgical mask. If the ill person's health condition becomes dangerous (quickly rising fever, pain in the chest, shortness of breath, acute pain of a different kind etc.) and he is feeling extremely poorly, 112 must be called.

In order to better contain the spread of COVID-19, it is important that the person who has fallen ill (in the case of a student his parent or other legal representative) informs the educational institution if a COVID-19 infection is confirmed. The institution will inform members of that class or group (and parents). The notification has to be done with a sense of delicacy, without revealing the name or other identifying data of the person who has been infected. The regional department of the Health Board will contact the educational institution and inform of the confirmed diagnosis, after which the school will establish the close contacts and notify the parents.

Simplified quarantine: children and youths who are unvaccinated and asymptomatic

If an unvaccinated young person under the age of 18 or turning 19 during the 2021/2022 academic year comes in contact with a person who has COVID-19 in child care, kindergarten or school and is not symptomatic himself, he is allowed to keep participating in school or kindergarten but also in hobby groups that are only attended by children or youths from the same school or kindergarten. The same applies if the close contact happened in hobby groups where only children from the same school or kindergarten participate -- in that case it is also allowed to continue going to school or kindergarten if there are no symptoms.

  • For children under the age of 12 it is enough to monitor their health condition: if there are no symptoms, the child may continue participating in academic activities and hobby activities that take place among the same circle of people.

  • An unvaccinated 12-18 year old or young person turning 19 in the course of the 2021/2022 academic year has to additionally: 1) do a SARS-CoV-2 antigen-RTD test (the so-called rapid test) and 2) do a repeat coronavirus PCR test no later than 72 hours after the close contact was established, the results of both of which have to be negative. If the first test is negative and there are no symptoms, the child does not have to stay home in between the two tests.

A simplified quarantine always lasts for ten days and during this period the child or young person needs to refrain from informal education and hobby activities that take place outside of the school, kindergarten or child care, youth work and other activities (e.g. entertainment, going to the store etc.).

Starting from November 1, 2021: unvaccinated young people who are up to 18 years old or turning 19 during the 2021/2022 academic year, whose close contact was at school, during hobby activities or youth work can stay in simplified quarantine if the take a PCR test no sooner than on the 4th day after the close contact and it is negative. Until the test results come in, they have to stay home. Even if the test is negative, it is only allowed to participate in academic and educational activities, hobby activities and youth work within ten days from the close contact.

Students who are vaccinated and recovered from COVID-19

An asymptomatic fully vaccinated student or one who has recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months does not have to stay in self-isolation if they have been a close contact and can continue with their usual activities.

Last updated: 21.10.2021 20:31

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If you have to stay in self-isolation then, due to the length of the incubation period of the COVID-19 infection, you should stay at home for 10 calendar days from the close contact and monitor your health. Even though testing is not compulsory, the Health Board recommends that a close contact do a SARS-CoV-2 test when the quarantine ends, in order to establish a possible asymptomatic infection.

Let your family doctor know of a close contact you had with a COVID-19 positive person at first chance. If your health condition worsens, contact your family doctor again and follow the subsequent instructions. If you do not have a family doctor, call the Family Doctor's Advice Line 1220 (+372 634 66 30). Advice is given in Estonian and Russian (advice in English every day between 15.00 and 17.00).

Here are the guidelines for your 10 day monitoring period:

  1. Use possibilities for distance work and study

  2. Do not leave your home or place of residence, except

  • in order to procure what is essential for your everyday subsistence;
  • at the invitation of a doctor in order to visit a medical institution;
  • to go outdoors (to a park, the woods etc.) while completely avoiding any contact with others;
  • if the SARS-CoV-2 test done 10 days after the close contact established by the Health Board is negative.
  1. Follow the requirements for health safety:
  • wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water and disinfect if necessary, considering that the virus can spread from contaminated objects;

  • avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose with your hands;

  • air the rooms regularly (at least twice a day, at least 15 minutes at a time);

  • when coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with a paper towel or your sleeve (throw the paper away immediately after use and then wash your hands).

  1. If you have to go out in public in order to obtain the essential items necessary for everyday subsistence, you must wear a mask.

  2. If you have further questions, read the legal acts and explanatory letters (in Estonian) enacting the coronavirus control measures, or call the state helpline 1247.

If you, or someone else in your household develop symptoms of the disease, then

  1. call the family doctor or the Family Doctors' Advice Line 1220 as soon as possible,

  2. tell them that you have been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19,

  3. describe your health condition and follow the medical instructions.

  4. if your health deteriorates suddenly, call 112.

NB! When calling the emergency medical services, make sure you provide them with information regarding your contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

We ask that you don't go to the emergency medicine department of a hospital or to the family doctor's office yourself if symptoms occur, but rather ask for treatment recommendations and instructions by phone. We also ask that you definitely inform the Health Board as well if symtoms occur or your health condition deteriorates.

Last updated: 29.09.2021 11:25

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  • If symptoms occur during the 10-day self-isolation or health monitoring period, it is necessary to turn to the family doctor wh owill issue a referral to testing.
  • If symptoms do not occur, the Health Board recommends that a close contact do a test at the end of the 10 calendar day quarantine period, in order to discover a possible case of asymptomatic infection. An appointment for testing must be booked by calling 646 4848 (Monday to Friday 8-18; Saturday and Sunday 10-16).

Close contacts can get tested free of charge.

Last updated: 05.10.2021 16:29

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If a close contact of a close contact (e.g. family member, colleague) is not symptomatic, she does not have to stay in self-isolation and can continue their everyday activities.

It is also important to note that even a slight fatigue and a scratchy throat are symptoms. If a close contact of a close contact becomes symptomatic (usually on the 4th to 6th day after the close contact took place), he is considered a close contact as well and has to stay home if he is not vaccinated, considered to be the same as vaccinated, or recovered from COVID-19 within the past 180 days.

Last updated: 29.09.2021 11:32

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A close contact is considered to be a person who has been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person for at least 15 minutes and closer than two meters. The contact time is calculated as a total during 24 hours (e.g. 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes during the afternoon, and 5 minutes in the evening makes a total of 15 minutes).

If you know that during the previous 10 calendar days you have been in contact with a person who has received a COVID-19 diagnosis, you have to stay at home or in your permanent place of residence regardless of whether you have been contacted by the Health Board or not, unless:

  • you have recovered from COVID-19 no more than 180 days ago;
  • you have completed the course of COVID-19 vaccinations, achieved maximum protection after the last dose of the vaccine and no more than one year has passed since receiving the last dose of the vaccine;
  • you are considered the same as vaccinated, i.e. after recovery from COVID-19 you gave received one dose of the vaccine, achieved maximum protection after the vaccine dose and no more than one year has passed since receiving the last dose of the vaccine; or you have become infected with COVID-19 after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, have recovered from COVID-19 and no more than one year has passed since doing the SARS-CoV-2 test confirming the diagnosis or the confirmation of the diagnosis.

If the close contact with a coronavirus carrier took place in kindergarten or child care, general education school or vocational school, the children and young people who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered from COVID-19 have to stay in simplified quarantine.

The counting of the 10 calendar day quarantine period starts from when the sick person became symptomatic or, if the sick person was asymptomatic, from the day the sick person did the positive SARS-CoV-2 test. If you have been in close contact with a sick person in some other way, the 10 calendar day quarantine period will be counted from the last date you were in close contact with the sick person. The isolation calculator of the Estonian Family Medicine Association (in Estonian) helps to calculate the isolation days of a close contact.

The Health Board recommends 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.

Last updated: 01.10.2021 14:42

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More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).