Coronavirus round-up: December 28 - January 3 ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A message of Tallinn's Old Town Christmas tree which says
A message of Tallinn's Old Town Christmas tree which says "No to covid in 2021". Source: Ellina Katšan/ ERR

Last week 3,709 cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in Estonia - slightly fewer than the week before and the first plateau for months - which is being attributed to fewer people getting tested over the Christmas and New Year period. There were 38 deaths, the highest in a single week so far.

ERR News has rounded up the most important news and data about the coronavirus in Estonia from the last week and put it in one place.

This round-up is released every Monday, because the results for Sunday of the previous week are released on Monday morning, only making it possible to analyze the previous week's results after the data has been reported.

You can find the following graphs below:

  • The total number of new cases diagnosed by week;
  • New cases by day for December 28 - January 3;
  • New cases by county by week;
  • New cases compared with deaths and hospital releases;
  • Total number of positive and negative tests by week;
  • Deaths by age group.

The data has been taken from the Health Board and we downloaded it from Koroonakaart which publishes data every day in English, Russian and Estonian.

Our "Coronavirus in Estonia: All You Need to Know" guide also provides an overview of total cases by county, the daily rate of new cases, and includes a breakdown of all the restrictions so far. We update this page daily.

In the graphs below, you can add or take away data from the graphs by clicking on the colored dots below. The data points are (mostly) dated with each Monday's date.

Overview

Last week was quite quiet due to the holiday period, but new restrictions were introduced in Harju County on Monday and coronavirus vaccinations started across the country. On the first day, more than 200 health care workers were vaccinated and the government decided to place an additional order for 50,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Ministers will not be among the first to get the jab.

The governments of the Baltic countries agreed to lift flight restrictions between the UK and the three countries, with flights restarting on January 1 after suspending them on December 21 due to the newly discovered vaccine strain. Virologist Professor Irja Lutsar said the virus may already be in Estonia but it has not be confirmed yet. Additional testing restrictions are in place for travelers from the UK until further notice.

Mathematician Professor Krista Fischer said Estonia's R infection rate number is still above one, which means the infection rate is increasing. She estimated it to be at 1.05 with less than 1 being the target number but said it could be higher as the number of people being tested is lower than usual. Her data showed the number has dropped below 1 in Ida-Viru County, is above 1 but falling in Harju County and is increasing in Tartu.

The R infection rate in Harju, Ida-Viru and Tartu counties. Source: Krista Fischer

Minister of Education Jaak Aab (Center) said children in all counties except Harju and Ida-Viru counties could return to school on January 11.

New cases by week: There were 3,709 new cases of coronavirus diagnosed in Estonia last week, similar to the week before when 3,730 new cases were recorded. Experts have said this is due to a smaller number of people getting tested due to the holiday period. It was also assumed fewer people were tested the week before.

The number of deaths increased from 32 to 38, a new weekly record.

The 14-day infection rate is 559.5 per 100,000 compared to 558.7 last Monday. There are 442 people being treated in hospital.

New cases by day December 28 - January 3: There was a record number of cases on a single day on Tuesday, December 28 when 964 cases were confirmed on a single day. The Health Board told ERR News this was down to a backlog in the lab.

On the majority of other days, the number of cases was below 500. Only one day - December 29 - diagnosed 737 cases, which could also have been due to the backlog in the lab. The lowest number of cases was on Saturday, January 2, when 342 were recorded.

Thirty-eight people died last week, the highest number in a single week and the fourth new record in four weeks.

New cases by county: There were new cases reported in every county last week, you can see exactly how many and where on the map below. The majority of the new cases were diagnosed in Harju, Ida-Viru, Tartu and Pärnu counties.

Cases in Harju County fell slightly for the first time since mid-October totaling 2,168 compared to 2,241 the week before. Ida-Viru County's cases also continued to decline for the fifth week in a row with 538 new cases. The county currently has the strictest restrictions in the country. Saare County's cases dropped from 31 to 27.

Tartu County's cases rose from 176 to 244 and Pärnu County's from 123 to 147. Võru County's cases almost doubled from 48 to 75.

The Health Board has stopped publishing data about outbreaks, so it is not possible to tell where outbreaks are taking place or in what circles.

You can add or take away data from the graph by clicking on the colored dots at the bottom. The six counties included on the graph have the highest numbers of cases in total. 

Hospital releases: 242 people were released from hospital last week, a new record. Hospital admissions also peaked last week at 487, on Monday, December 28, data from Koroonakaart shows before dropping off. Today, 442 people are being treated in hospital. Experts assume hospital admissions will continue to rise in the coming weeks as the after-effects of the Christmas holidays are felt.

Positive and negative tests by week: There were fewer tests carried out last week - the lowest number in two months - which experts are attributing to the new year holiday period. This is the second week where it assumed fewer people than necessary were getting tested for coronavirus and for this reason the share of positive tests is now regularly over 10 percent of total daily tests.

There were 3,709 positive tests and 25,637 negative tests carried out giving a total of 29,346. The previous week 30,825 were analyzed.

The rate of testing may increase next week.

Deaths

Deaths by week: Another new record was set for the total number of deaths in a single week as 38 people infected with the coronavirus died this week in Estonia.

Coronavirus highlights December 28 - January 3:

"Let's keep Estonia open!"

The Health Board launched a new campaign called "Let's keep Estonia open!" ("Hoiame Eesti elu avatud!") this week, which calls for the people of Estonia to follow five basic principles:

  • Stay at home if you have fallen ill;
  • Stay at least two meters away from other people;
  • Wear a mask in crowded places;
  • Wash your hands diligently;
  • Download the HOIA app onto your smartphone;
  • Get your information from reliable sources, such as kriis.ee, the Health Board or contact the free 1247 helpline.

The spread of coronavirus in Estonia is extensive and rapid, which means that it is possible to get infected anywhere you may come in to contact with others.

If possible, choose electronic channels and online services for running your errands. Run as many of your errands as possible via electronic channels which will allow you to avoid unnecessary contact with others and reduce the risk of your being infected.

If you experience any symptoms, please stay at home.

Download HOIA

Estonia's coronavirus exposure notification app HOIA 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. 

Note to readers

Feedback is welcome, as are suggestions for data we can show or stories we can tell. Email: helen.wright@err.ee

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Editor: Helen Wright

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