Health Board: COVID-19 spread high in southern Estonia

Mari-Anne Härma.
Mari-Anne Härma. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Health Board deputy director Mari-Anne Härma said at a press conference on Wednesday that the highest likelihood of getting infected with the coronavirus in Estonia is currently in Tartu County.

Due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in southern Estonia, local hospitals are under pressure, especially the University of Tartu Hospital. Härma said the situation is not going to change soon and added that the Health Board has given hospitals directives to create additional beds for coronavirus patients.

The region with the lowest infection rates is currently Ida-Viru County, where a third of infections are brought in from other regions.

The infection R rate has not changed for a week, according to Härma, and is still around 1.2. At the same time, the Health Board official said that Estonia will likely reach very high levels of coronavirus spread by the second week of September.

Since the government has made a decision to keep schools open as much as possible, Härma noted that while children deemed close contacts of someone infected with COVID-19 can still go to school, they should avoid hobby groups and other gatherings.

She said that while the virus previously spread most commonly among younger people, it has now again reached the older population. It is a common pattern, where young people carry the infection into their family circles and by that, infect their other family members.

Härma added that the Delta variant, which has become widespread in Estonia, is not a droplet infection, but rather an aerosol infection. This means visors and disposable face shields like scarves and buffs are not too effective.

Vaccination chief Marek Seer pointed out that nearly 700,000 people have received a first vaccine dose and added that 22,230 Pfizer and 25,200 Moderna doses arrived in Estonia this week. No Janssen vaccine doses reached Estonia this week and Seer was not optimistic that any will next week, either.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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