Health Board: 524 new cases of coronavirus diagnosed, one death

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A government sign at a shopping mall saying "Wear a mask!" Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

524 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) - a new record high - were reported in the last 24 hours, the Health Board (Terviseamet) said on Wednesday. A 78-year-old man died.

274 cases were recorded in Harju County with 199 in Tallinn. There were 117 in Ida-Viru County and 56 in Tartu. 

There were 15 cases in Viljandi County, 14 in Võru County, 11 in Põlva County and eight in Lääne-Viru County.

Pärnu County had five new cases, Rapla County four, Lääne and Valga counties recorded three each, Hiiu County two, Järva and Jõgeva had one each. There were 10 cases with no information in the Population Register.

In total, 6,439 tests were analyzed which gives a positive share of 8.1 percent. The infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants for the last 14 days is 355.09.

Yesterday, 191 cases were diagnosed and 256 the day before. The previous record high number of tests was 413 on November 25.

As of Wednesday morning, 206 patients are being treated in hospital with 11 of them on a ventilator. Twenty-four new patients were discharged from hospital, two further patients were transferred to another hospital, and two patients were also transferred to a non-COVID-19 unit. Twenty-nine new COVID-19 cases were opened in total. 

More than 489,400 tests have been analysed in Estonia in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 virus since February. The number of positive initial test results amounts to 13,019 or 2.7 percent of the total.

Health Board: The situation in Estonia is alarming

When asked if the high number was due to a backlog of cases, Health Board spokesperson Eike Kingsepp told ERR News: "We have not had time to analyze yet, but it seems to be part of the usual testing cycle. Lower on weekends and higher during midweek. Also, there were some technical difficulties from the public testing organization side on Monday, so there clearly was some backlog as well.

"But, the situation in Estonia is alarming and unfortunately higher numbers were expected."

Situation by region

Northern region

Thirty of the new cases which were added from the area of operations of the northern regional department were infected via close contact with individuals who had already fallen ill, while a further eighteen were infected within their family circle, nine via their acquaintances, and three in the workplace. On 27 occasions, the origins of the infection have remained unknown. The circumstances surrounding the remaining cases are still being investigated.

A total of 238 of the new cases which were added from within the Health Board's northern regional department between November 29 and December 1 were infected via family members, work-related contacts, or other close contact with individuals who had already fallen ill. On 119 occasions the origins of the infection have remained unknown. The virus was brought in from abroad on sixteen occasions, including from Russia, Tanzania, Ukraine, Spain, and Finland. The circumstances surrounding the remaining cases are still being investigated.

The Health Board's northern regional department is monitoring almost 15,600 people, of whom 2,310 have fallen ill.

There are twenty-one different outbreaks in total within the northern regional department's area of operations. These cover four school outbreaks, eight workplace outbreaks, and a further five outbreaks within circles of acquaintances. In addition to those listed above, there are also two care home outbreaks, a hospital outbreak, and the Tallinn Prison outbreak.

Eastern region

One of the new cases which were added from Lääne-Viru County within the past 24 hours was infected via a family member, while two further individuals caught the virus in the workplace, and one at a healthcare institution. Twenty-four of the new cases which were added from Ida-Viru County within the past 24 hours were infected at a care home, sixteen caught the virus within their family circle, fourteen in the workplace, seven at school, two at a healthcare institution, and one at a detention facility. The circumstances surrounding the remaining cases which were added within the past 24 hours are still being investigated.

There are 24 active outbreaks in total within the eastern regional department's area of operations. The largest of those outbreaks is the Viru Prison outbreak which involves 250 individuals. There are also four school outbreaks, including three in Kohtla-Järve and one in Jõhvi. There are two kindergarten outbreaks, involving one in Narva and another in Kohtla-Järve. The total number of workplace outbreaks amounts to ten, including two in Sillamäe, five in Narva, one in Jõhvi, one in Tapa, and one that is being referred to as the Lääne-Viru County outbreak. The Narva ice-hockey outbreak involves 76 individuals. There are two outbreaks at healthcare institutions, including one in Kohtla-Järve and one in Narva. Sillamäe is also witness to a hobby group outbreak, and there are two further outbreaks: within a circle of acquaintances in Toila Parish and within a family in Lüganuse Parish. A new care home facility from Kohtla-Järve has also been added.

The Health Board's eastern regional department is monitoring over 5,900 people, of whom 1,166 have fallen ill.

Southern region

The circumstances surrounding the new cases which were added from the area of operations of the Health Board's southern regional department within the past 24 hours are still being investigated.

Eleven of the new cases which were added from Tartu County on December 1 were infected at an educational institution, and nine within the family circle, while on seven occasions the origins of the infection have remained unknown, and one individual also caught the virus in the workplace, with one further case being brought in from abroad. One of the new cases from Põlva County was infected in the workplace, one case is connected to an educational institution, and one further case caught the virus within their family circle. Two of the new cases from Viljandi County were infected at an educational institution, while on one occasion the origins of the infection have remained unknown.

There are almost 5,400 people who are being monitored by the Health Board's southern regional department, of whom 672 have fallen ill (the number of patients also includes those who are being monitored by the Health Board's northern regional department). There are three care home outbreaks, five workplace outbreaks, two hobby group outbreaks, and eight outbreaks at educational institutions. One further outbreak is connected to an entertainment establishment. There is also one outbreak within a family circle.

Western region

One of the new cases from Hiiu County was infected within their family circle, another via their acquaintances. One of the new cases from Lääne County and another from Pärnu County both caught the virus from a family member. The circumstances surrounding the remaining new cases from the area of operations of the Health Board's western regional department are still being investigated.

The western regional department is monitoring over 1,200 people, of whom 163 have fallen ill. The same department is also monitoring three outbreaks including a school outbreak, a care home outbreak, and a workplace outbreak.

How can the spread of coronavirus be stopped?

  • The most efficient measure is keeping your distance.
  • In crowded places and especially indoors where it is not possible to keep your distance from other people, it is advisable to wear a mask.
  • Closed, crowded spaces should be avoided if possible.
  • Hands must be washed frequently with soap and warm water.
  • When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissue.
  • Anyone who becomes ill should stay at home, even if their symptoms are mild.
  • People who develop any symptoms should contact their family physician.

Download 'HOIA'

You can also download Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app 'HOIA' which will alert you if you have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus.

The free app can be downloaded at the Google Play Store or App Store. Read ERR News' feature about the app here. 

Editor's note: This article was updated to add new cases in each county.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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