Monitoring study conducted by the University of Tartu helps estimate the effect of measures to control virus spread
A new stage in the coronavirus prevalence study begins on 26 November, led by the University of Tartu researchers. Its aim is to determine the prevalence of coronavirus infection among adult population and estimate its change compared to the study conducted two weeks ago. In the new stage that runs until 4 December, researchers also observe changes in people’s behaviour patterns in relation to the restrictive measures introduced by the government.
From 24 November, a number of additional measures came into force to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These include the obligation to wear masks in public indoor spaces, the two-metre safe distancing rule was extended to all public rooms, the restriction of the occupancy percentage and the distancing requirement of the audience during indoor events.
The survey enables to get an immediate overview of the precautions that people observe and, together with the estimate of prevalence, it will help evaluate the epidemiological situation.
How to participate in the study?
During this stage of the study, 2,400 people from all over Estonia, selected based on random sample, are interviewed and tested.
People who are included in the sample are asked to respond to an online questionnaire prepared by the research company Kantar Emor. The elderly will be interviewed by phone, in which case the interviewer will complete the electronic form. Thereafter the participants take a nasal swab test. This can be done in the public testing stations of different medical institutions at the time booked via the testing call centre. Disabled or elderly people and other people with impaired mobility may order a testing team to test them at home. The work of the testing stations is coordinated by Medicum.
Synlab transports the samples to its Tallinn laboratory for analysis. Participants in the study can view their test results in the Patient Portal at digilugu.ee or using the new mobile app TESTI. All those who test positive in the study will be regularly interviewed over the next two to four weeks to follow the course of the disease.
Participation in the study is voluntary. According to the head of the survey, the University of Tartu Professor of Family Medicine Ruth Kalda, people have been very cooperative. “We are grateful to all those who have participated in the study so far. Thanks to you we have been able to collect data that are important for understanding the spread of the virus and estimating the effect of the measures taken to control the pandemic,” Kalda explained.
Seventeen researchers from five institutes of the University of Tartu are involved in conducting the survey. Synlab and Kantar Emor are involved as partners.
More information on the study is available on the University of Tartu website.