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.

How do I know whether I am a close contact?

The notification of being a close contact can, for instance, come from the sick person you were in contact with, from an educational or training institution, 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.

When do I have to stay in self-isolation?

If you have been in close contact with an infected person, you have to stay home in self-isolation for seven days, unless they have completed the course of vaccinations during the past year (or completed the course of vaccinations and received a booster dose), recovered from COVID-19 and no more than 180 have passed since the positive PCR test, or have recovered from the disease and received one dose of the vaccine (the so-called equated to a vaccinated person).

Staying in self-isolation is also recommended for people who are vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 but are living with a person who has been infected. In that case a person should stay home for at least seven days and do distance work if possible. If it is not possible to work from home, a family doctor will issue a certificate for sick leave and the person will receive health insurance benefits. The new variants of the coronavirus spread very quickly and people who are vaccinated or recovered from the disease can get infected as well; close contact within a family further increases the risk of getting infected and transmitting the infection.

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: 10.01.2022 01:10

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People who have been in close contact with an infected person have to stay home in self-isolation for seven days, unless they have completed the course of vaccinations (or completed the course of vaccinations and received a booster dose), recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months, or have been equated to a vaccinated person (i.e. recovered from the disease and been vaccinated). Remaining in self-isolation is also urgently recommended to people who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 but are living with a person who has been infected.

What to do if you are a close contact who has been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19?

The new variants of the coronavirus spread very quickly and people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 can get infected as well. A close contact within a family further increases the risk of getting infected and transmitting the disease. For that reason it is recommended that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the disease also remain in self-isolation if they have been in close contact within their family.

  • Stay in self-isolation for at least seven days. If there are no symptoms you can return to your regular order of life. If symptoms occur, do a PCR test.

  • Take out a certificate for sick leave for the self-isolation period if necessary. A family doctor can issue a certificate for sick leave if the patient is suspected of having an infectious disease dur to being a close contact.

  • During the certificate for sick leave period, the health insurance benefits are paid from the second day of sickness; the city of Tallinn also reimburses the first day of sickness to its residents.

  • If it is not possible to do distance work or take out a certificate for sick leave, do a rapid antigen test before leaving home.

What to do if you are a close contact who has not been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19?

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

  • The obligatory self-isolation period is 7 days. The days are counted from when the close contact took place.
  • A person who has to stay in self-isolation is not allowed to go to work, school (except in the case of simplified quarantine), public places, or use public transport. It is obligatory to stay home (or at a permanent place of stay). Instead of visiting a store or a pharmacy, it is recommended to turn to your acquaintances or use the e-store to order the necessary goods. If you are ordering food and essentials to be delivered by a courier, avoid direct contact.
  • It is only allowed to leave home for an urgent need, for instance to go to the doctor or to buy essentials and medicines if a person cannot acquire them without leaving 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: 18.01.2022 19:15

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If a close contact that took place in an educational institution (including a dormitory of an educational institution), hobby school or youth work institution:

  • Asymptomatic children and adolescents who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19: students of general education or vocational schools who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the coronavirus do not have to get tested or stay in quarantine after a close contact that took place at school if they are not symptomatic.

  • Children and adolescents who are unvaccinated or have not recovered from the disease: children and young people who turn 19 this academic year (included), who are unvaccinated and have not recovered from the disease have to go home and quarantine immediately after finding out about a close contact that took place in an academic institution (including during hobby activities and youth work). A rapid antigen test has to be done on the fifth morning after the close contact in order to shorten the quarantine. If the test result is negative, the child is allowed to only go to school and participate in informal education and youth work on that day and the two following days. Other activities where the COVID certificate is checked (e.g. extracurricular visits to cinemas, theatres, concerts, spas, cafes) are prohibited for seven days after the close contact. If COVID symptoms occur, the student has to stay home immediately.

  • Pre-school aged children: if the close contact took place in a kindergarten or child care facility, then the child does not have to get tested. If there are no symptoms, the child can keep attending kindergarten or child care and participate in the hobby activities of the same group. Participating in practices and other hobby groups outside the child care facility is only allowed after seven days have passed from the close contact. Simplified quarantine does not apply if the close contact took place elsewhere -- for instance at home or at a hobby group that took place outside the kindergarten.

Last updated: 24.01.2022 11:50

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People who have been in close contact with an infected person have to stay home in self-isolation for seven days, unless they have completed the course of vaccinations (or completed the course of vaccinations and received a booster dose), recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months, or have been equated to a vaccinated person (i.e. recovered from the disease and been vaccinated). Remaining in self-isolation is also urgently recommended to people who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 but are living with a person who has been infected.*

Close contacts who are not vaccinated and have not recovered from COVID-19

Due to the length of the incubation period of the COVID-19 infection, the obligatory period of staying home is seven calendar days from when the close contact took place.

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 seven-day) monitoring period:

  • Use possibilities for distance work and study

  • 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.

  • 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).

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

  • 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.

Close contacts who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19

Close contacts who are vaccinated (or have completed the course of vaccinations and have received an additional dose), recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months or been equated to a vaccinated person (i.e. have recovered from the disease and been vaccinated) do not have to stay in self-isolation but staying home is urgently recommended if a person living with them has been infected. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads very quickly and people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the disease can get infected as well; a close contact within the family further increases the risk of getting infected and transmitting the infection.

Instructions:

  • Stay in self-isolation for at least seven days or reduce contacts. If no symptoms develop, you can return to your regular order of life. If symptoms do develop, do a PCR test.
  • If necessary, take out a certificate for sick leave for the self-isolation period. A family doctor can issue a certificate for sick leave if the patient is suspected of having an infectious disease due to being a close contact.
  • During the period of the certificate for sick leave, the health insurance benefits are paid starting from the second sickness day; the city of Tallinn reimburses its residents the first sickness day as well.
  • If it is not possible to do distance work or take out a certificate for sick leave, do a rapid antigen test before leaving home.

What to do if you, or someone else in your household develop symptoms of the disease?

  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 also inform the Health Board if symptoms occur or your health condition deteriorates.

Last updated: 18.01.2022 19:18

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If symptoms occur during the 7-day self-isolation or health monitoring period, it is necessary to turn to the family doctor who will issue a referral to testing.

Students who have been close contacts can do a rapid antigen test in the morning of the fifth day from the close contact in order to shorten the quarantine. If the test result is negative, the child is allowed to only go to school and participate in informal education and youth work on the same day and the two following days (the so-called simplified quarantine).

Last updated: 24.01.2022 12:58

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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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If you have not been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within the past six months and you know that within the past seven calendar days you have come in contact with a person who has received a COVID-19 diagnosis, you have to stay home or at a permanent place of stay for seven days, regardless of whether you have been contacted by the Health Board.

It is not obligatory to stay in self-isolation if you have completed the course of vaccinations (or have completed the course of vaccinations and have received an additional dose) and no more than a year has passed since the last shot, have been equated to a vaccinated person (i.e. recovered from the disease and been vaccinated) or recovered from COVID-19 and no more than 180 days have passed since the positive PCR test. Still, if a person living with you has been infected, a person who has been vaccinated or recovered from the disease is also recommended to stay in self-isolation for at least seven days. The new variants of the coronavirus spread very quickly and people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the disease can get infected as well; a close contact within the family further increases the risk of getting infected and transmitting the infection.

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.

*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). The counting of the self-isolation 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 PCR test. If you have been in close contact with a sick person in some other way, the 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.

Last updated: 18.01.2022 11:43

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