A total of 1,586 new coronavirus cases have been detected in Estonia in the past 24 hours, the Health Board (Terviseamet) said Saturday morning, while 15 people who had contracted COVID-19 passed away during that period, the highest death toll for a single day since the pandemic began a year ago.
Estonia's current 14-day coronavirus rate per 100,000 inhabitants now stands at 1466.17, the Health Board says, giving the second-highest reported rate not only in Europe, but also globally.
Estonia also has the highest 7-day coronavirus rate per million inhabitants in the world, as of Friday, according to some reports (but is second behind the Czech Republic by 14-day coronavirus rate per 100,000 - ed.)
The proportion of those testing positive during that time, from overall tests, is 19.5 percent, the board says.
Harju County posts nearly two-thirds of new cases
All 15 of Estonia's counties reported new coronavirus cases, at least on the basis of the Health Board data, which uses addresses entered in the population registry in compiling the location of new cases.
The largest number of new cases came in Harju County, the most populous region of the country, with 1,042 individuals testing positive – 813 of these were in Tallinn itself.
Ida-Viru County and Lääne-Viru County, two more of the most-affected regions at present, were next, with 106 and 88 cases respectively. Lääne-Viru County is sparsely populated and only has two towns of any size (by Estonian standards; Rakvere, population a little under 16,000, and Tapa, population around 5,500 and also home to a major NATO base), but it is sandwiched between two more populous counties, hard-hit by COVID-19 (I.e Harju and Ida-Viru counties) and sees plenty of transit, commuters to Tallinn resident in Lääne-Viru County etc.
Tartu County saw 61 new coronavirus cases, Pärnu County 60, Viljandi County posted 36, Rapla County 29, Jõgeva and Lääne counties 22 each (in the case of the county of that name, Lääne, which simply means "west", is not to be confused with Lääne-Viru County – ed.), and Võru County saw 19.
Saaremaa, another heavily-affected region in proportion to its population, saw 18 new cases, while Järva County posted 13.
The remaining counties reported single-figure new cases, namely Valga County and Hiiumaa (nine each), and Põlva County (eight).
Additionally, 44 new cases came in individuals who did not have an address associated with them in the population registry.
Proportion testing positive over past 24 hours slightly down on figure for preceding two weeks
A total of 8,530 primary COVID-19 tests were analyzed over the past 24 hours, the board says, giving an 18.6 percent positive rate, i.e. slightly lower than the rate for the past 14 days (see above).
Highest death toll so far
A total of 15 people who had contracted coronavirus died in the past 24 hours, the highest daily figure to date, bringing the total of coronavirus-related deaths to 710.
The number of patients requiring hospital treatment due to the virus rose by 12 over the same period, to 669. Sixty-five of these individuals are in intensive care (up from 62 the previous day) and 46 are on ventilators (an increase of one on Friday's figures).
104 new coronavirus case files were opened over the past 24 hours, while 4,345 coronavirus case files concerning 4,184 individuals had been closed at hospitals, as of Saturday morning (some individuals have more than one case file appended to them, hence the discrepancy – ed.)
Nearly 60,000 people have recovered from COVID-19
59,385 people have recovered from coronavirus as of March 13, the Health Board says, with 70.6 percent of these (41,927) having had their case file wrapped up by a health care professional (including at hospitals as listed above), with the remaining 17,458 individuals – 29.4 percent – meeting the triple criteria of not having tested positive for the virus in the past 28 days, not currently being hospitalized as a result of the virus, and not awaiting closure of a case file.
7,674 people received coronavirus vaccinations over the same time-frame, the bulk of them (5,747) getting their first shot of a course of two, bringing the total of people to have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since Christmas time to 127,829 (out of a total population of a little over 1.3 million). Forty-one percent (52,571) of those inoculated have received both injections, i.e. completed the course.
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.
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.
Editor: Andrew Whyte