The age profile of coronavirus patients has risen over the past week and people in their 40s are now more likely to be infected than teenagers. The virus has spread from young people to their parents.
The University of Tartu's Professor Krista Fischer, a member of the government's scientific advisory council, said at a press conference on Wednesday that more positive cases were diagnosed in Estonia in the last week than during the spring period.
She said the virus is now spreading in the 40-44 years old age category, compared to the 15-19 age category last week. "These are the parents who were [infected] by those young people who may have become infected at school," Fischer said.
She said that the number of infections among the elderly is worrying and the number of patients admitted to hospital in the spring has already been exceeded.
"As the number of infections has been on the rise for the last 10 days, there is nothing to do but think that the number of hospital patients may increase," she said, adding it is assumed between 50 and 100 people will be admitted to hospital in the next week.
Fischer said every tenth infected person in the age group 60-69 years is hospitalized, one in five patients aged 70-79 and almost a third of those who contract the virus in their 80s need to be hospitalized.
Fischer said the infection rate R must be reduced from the current 1.25 to less than one to stop the spread of the virus.
Speaking at the press conference Director General of the Health Board Üllar Lanno said the biggest challenge for hospitals will be probably just before Christmas, and the biggest gift people can give each other on holidays is to minimize the spread of the disease.
He also said, currently, 16 percent of people diagnosed with COVID-19 are not displaying any symptoms of the illness.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs Maris Jesse said the next three weeks will be critical and people should think about reducing their activities to help get the infection rate below one.
Editor: Helen Wright