Health Board: Infections among elderly causing hospitalizations to spike
Both the total number and the infection rate per 100,000 people is highest among school children, especially those aged 10-14. The number of patients requiring hospitalization is growing, largely because of the increased number of elderly patients, the Health Board's weekly overview (link in Estonian) reads.
Last week, 43,696 coronavirus tests were conducted in Estonia, up 12 percent from the week prior. The number of positive tests has also increased - the positive case ratio of all tests stood at 12.7 percent two weeks ago, but was at 14.8 percent last week.
The counties with the highest infection rates were Põlva (23 percent), Pärnu (21.2), Järva (20.3) and Valga (19.3). The rate of positive tests grew four-fold in Ida-Viru County (3.4 percent → 11.4 percent) and doubled in Rapla (8.5 → 17.8), Lääne-Viru (7.7 → 16) and Harju (6.5 → 12.3) counties.
As of the updated risk matrix, which also takes hospitalizations into account, the level of coronavirus spread in Estonia is currently high, or 'orange'. Estonia is estimated to reach very high levels of spread by the end of the week.
12,113 vaccine doses were administered last week, 22.75 percent less from the week prior.
R rate at 1.18
Estonia's R rate last week has stabilized at 1.18. The Health Board noted an epidemic increase in infections in Ida-Viru County (94.6 percent). Infections in Harju County were up 28.2 percent compared to the week prior and increases in infection rates have hit all Estonian regions.
The regions with the highest infection rates are Pärnu County and southern Estonian counties.
The board estimates that infection rates will continue to grow. The average number of daily cases will hit 1,100-1,200 soon, meaning ca 8,000 a week.
Infections by age group
The number of infections last week went up in all age groups except those aged 80 and up. The increase was highest in the 65-69 group (70 percent), the 10-14 age group saw an increase of 51 percent and the 40-44 group went through a 39 percent increase.
Both the total number and the infection rate per 100,000 people is highest among school children, especially those aged 10-14.
The number of patients requiring hospitalization is increasing largely because of the increased number of elderly patients.
Patients in hospital
The average age of hospitalized patients is 69 years. Compared to the week prior, the rate of patients aged 50-59 increased. At the same time, the rate of patients aged 60-79 decreased.
Last week, 27 people in Estonia died, aged 61-99. Their average age was 79.5 years and all of them had co-morbidities.
Three care home residents died, aged 82, 86 and 94. The average number of daily deaths over the past seven days was 3.85 and is growing.
Sources of infection
Of known traced sources of infection, 36.3 percent of the cases last week happened within family. 17.6 percent were linked back to child and educational establishments, 8.7 percent to the workplace, 2.8 percent to healthcare establishments, 3.2 percent to acquaintance circles, 2.8 to travel, 1.2 percent to entertainment venues and 2 percent to other locations (Defense forces, prisons, transport).
Infections increased in child and educational establishments (14.6 percent → 17.6 percent) and the workplace (8 → 8.7). Infections decreased within family circles (38 → 36) and healthcare establishments (3.2 → 2.8).
Outbreaks are increasing in size
The number of active outbreaks monitored by the Health Board is increasing. Last week, there were 171 active outbreaks in Estonia, up 36 from 135 the week prior. The total number of infections linked to the outbreaks was 2,429, up from 1,828 the week before. Infections within outbreaks have increased most in childcare establishments and care homes.
There are 21 care home outbreaks in Estonia, totaling 573 people. Care home outbreaks are more common in the southern region, but all regions have at least one care home outbreak. Compared to the week prior, there were four new establishments, where the infection spread by groups.
Of the three new care home outbreaks over the last week, one was traced back to an unvaccinated worker and to a vaccinated worker, who had gotten the infection from their child, who got it at school. There was no data for the third worker's vaccination process the outbreak was traced back to.
The number of school outbreaks is also moving in an upward trend. Last week, there were 93 school outbreaks being monitored, up from 63 the week prior. There are school outbreaks in all regions, most of them in the northern region.
Cases linked to travel
There were 140 COVID-19 cases traced back to travel last week, the rate making up 2.8 percent of all cases, where the source of infection is known. Cases were traced to travel from a total of 25 countries, the most common were Turkey (48 cases), Finland (32) and Russia (15).
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste