Over half coronavirus outbreaks relate to social, entertainment gatherings

Noblessner district in June last year.
Noblessner district in June last year. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Health Board (Terviseamet) has identified fifty coronavirus outbreaks in Estonia, with half of them connected with entertainment events or gatherings, summer amps, trips, weddings, birthdays and other get-togethers.

The current "R" rate in Estonia stands at 1.2, unchanged from a week earlier.

The "R" rate within the Health Board's eastern region has risen significantly, from 1.1 to 1.35, since August 9, while the rate in the southern region remains constant at 1.3.

Given the current "R" rate, the board says, a rise in the number of people hospitalized by 20 percent can be forecast for next week, bringing the total to about 2,300 infections per week, or 300-400 per day.

Morbidity, which in this sense refers to the incidence of a disease within a given population, has risen in all of Estonia's 15 counties over the past 14 days, save for in Ida-Viru County, where it has fallen slightly.

The highest growth has been experience in Valga County (139.4 percent), Jõgeva County (136.8 percent) and Saaremaa (90.9 percent), the board says, while the counties with the highest current levels of morbidity are Võru County (477.2 per 100,000), Põlva County (446.3), Pärnu County (385.2) and Tartu County (341.8).

During the last 14 days, the morbidity increased in all counties except Ida-Virumaa, where it even decreased slightly. The highest growth is in Valga County (139.4 percent), Jõgeva County (136.8 percent) and Saaremaa (90.9 percent).

Distribution by age group

As in previous weeks, the highest incidence of the coronavirus comes among the younger, working-age, socially active people; 61.2 percent of those with the virus are in the 20-49-year-old age group, with the 30-39-year-olds being the largest component of this, whereas previously it had been 30-39-year-olds.

Whereas previously in this age group the most infected were among 20-29-year-olds, in recent weeks in this age group the most infected are among 30-39-year-olds, while in the 40-59 and 50-59 segments there has been a significant rise in cases, and a slight rise of cases in the 60+ age group.

One third of outbreaks relate to unknown infection origin sites

On the basis of data analyzed last week, the infection origin was unknown in 32 percent of cases.

36.6 per cent were infected via the family circle, 8 per cent via acquaintances, 7.1 per cent from travel abroad, 5.4 per cent at work, 4 per cent at social and entertainment gatherings, 2 per cent at health care institutions and nursing homes, 1.4 per cent at religious camps and church events, 0.4 per cent via military service and 6 percent from "elsewhere".

Close family contact infections have been rising, as they have been at healthcare and other care institutions, while those relating to entertainment and social gatherings have been falling.

More than half of the outbreaks are related to entertainment

COVID-19 outbreaks in Estonia totaled 50 last week, with a cumulative number of infections of 706. New infections have been added to 22 outbreaks over the past 10 days.

Twenty-nine outbreaks, 58 percent of the total, relate to entertainment and social gatherings and account for 503 infections.

Close family contacts comprise 24 percent of the total, while six outbreaks (12 percent of the total) are connected with the workplace, the board says.
One outbreak in the northern district has infected 37 people, five of whom are unvaccinated. Five people require hospitalization.

One nursing home in the board's southern region is the scene of an outbreak of seven people, two of whom have not been inoculated; four have been fully immunized and one has received one vaccine dose. Four people are displaying symptoms.

A total of 20,281 people filled in border declarations on arrival in Estonia last week, while 130 reported cases related to foreign travel (6.7 of the total), and 7.1 percent of cases which have no data on infection site of origin.

The cases introduced last week related to travel to 24 countries, with Turkey (43), Finland, (27) and Russia (11) accounting for the largest number.

Genetic sequencing and hospitalizations

Genetic sequencing in the past week reveals that 98 percent of infections relate to the delta strain; two gamma and two alpha strain infections were identified by sequencing last week, and in both cases, one of the instances had been brought in from abroad.

The number of patients requiring hospital treatment is rising. 69 people were hospitalized last week, 30 percent more than a week earlier, while, unlike in the previous period, the share of 40-59-year-olds among those hospitalized also rose. The proportion of over-70s hospitalized has decreased significantly, however.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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