Health Board: Estonia to reach maximum hospitalization capacity in November

Mask. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia will reach its maximum capacity for hospitalizations by mid-November, the Health Board's weekly overview (link in Estonian) reads. In addition, record-high coronavirus infection indicators were registered in Põlva and Pärnu counties over the last week with an increase expected next week.

There were 57,670 coronavirus tests conducted in Estonia over the last week, 16.7 percent up from the week prior. 17.3 percent of the conducted tests turned out to be positive for the coronavirus.

The highest infection rates are still in Pärnu County (24.9 percent), Põlva County (24.2 percent) and Viljandi County (23.2 percent).

The R rate has decreased nationwide and now stands at 1.18. The rate went up in the southern (1.1→1.4) region and decreased in the northern (1.22→1.12) and western (1.2→1.1) regions. The R rate did not change from last week and was stable at 1.18.

According to the national risk matrix, which takes the number of hospitalizations and daily infection indicators into account, Estonia's current rate of coronavirus spread is very high.

Infection indicators breaking records

The Health Board recorded increased infection growth in Hiiu County (77.8 percent), Järva County (69.3 percent), Lääne County (50.8 percent), Viljandi County (48.8 percent) and Saare County (48.2 percent).

Record high indication rates were registered in Põlva County (2,231.5 cases per 100,000 people) and Pärnu County (2,174.4). The highest per-100,000 infection rate was previously recorded in Harju County in March (2,125).

Since the R rate is still above 1, the infection indicators are expected to grow over the upcoming weeks. The ongoing week could see a record 11,000 infections. On Wednesday, the Health Board announced 2,025 new cases, a record.

Infection rate forecast. The orange represents previous days and the teal represents the estimated daily case numbers. The black line is the 7-day infection rate. Source: Health Board

The highest number of infections among schoolchildren

Over the last week, infections went up in all age groups, the highest increase was in the 75-79 age group (47 percent), the 0-4 age group (46 percent), the 65-69 age group (43 percent) and the 80+ age group (39 percent).

Infections among the 5-9 and 10-14 age groups can be linked to their parents in their age groups (30-44). All three groups have seen considerable growth. Infections have slowed down some in the 80+ and 20-24 age groups.

The highest number of infections per 100,000 people is still among schoolchildren, especially in the 10-14 age group.

The Health Board said it is complicated to predict what kind of effect the new restrictions will have since they came too late and the number of infections and the spread of the virus is already too extensive. The R rate is likely to go down some during the school break, but will grow after.

The number of hospitalizations has also gone up since there has been an increase in the number of infections among the elderly. The number of hospitalizations is likely to climb to 550 in the coming days (525, as of Wednesday - ed), will reach 600 by the end of October and up to 700 by mid-November, which is the estimated maximum capacity of Estonian hospitals.

Infections in age groups per 100,000 people. The pinkish-orange bar represents week 41 (October 11-17), the teal bar represents week 42 (October 18-24). Source: Health Board

Infection sources largely the same

Compared to last week, the sources of infection have largely stayed the same: the most common source of infection as family (38.4 percent), infections in childcare establishments and schools went down from last week (15.8 percent). 11 percent of the childcare and school infections were staff, the remaining 89 percent were children.

8 percent of the cases were linked back to the workplace, 3.9 percent of the cases were linked to healthcare and care establishments, 3 percent of the cases were linked to other acquaintances and 2.2 percent to tourism.

Infections at hobby education and entertainment events remained low: 1 percent and infections linked to other sources (such as the Estonian Defense Forces, prisons and public transport) made up 2 percent of the total cases.

The source of infection was not found for 26.2 percent of the cases.

Number of outbreaks increasing and is linked to schools

There were 38 new outbreaks in Estonia last week, bringing the total number to 216. Most of the outbreaks were connected to schools and most of the people linked to the outbreak are schoolchildren. The cumulative number of infections in all out breaks was 3,722, up from 2,890 the week prior.

The number of school outbreaks being monitored remains high and is increasing. Last week, there were 125 school outbreaks (up from 103 the week prior) and 13 outbreaks in pre-school establishments (up from 11 the week prior).

As of October 24, there are 22 care home outbreaks being monitored by the Health Board. There are a total 627 people being monitored in care home outbreaks (up from 540 the week prior). The southern region has the most care home outbreaks.

Last week, 192 care home residents were diagnosed with the coronavirus, 12 of them were hospitalized and four died.

There were 156 cases linked to travel from abroad last week. The most common countries were Turkey (44 cases), Finland (31 cases) and Russia (18).

74 percent of hospitalized patients older than 60

The average age of hospitalized patients stood at 69 percent last week. The rate of hospitalized patients was at 74 percent last week, hospitalizations increased in the 50-59 age group and decreased some in the 70-79 age group.

Patients over the age of 80 make up a third of all hospitalized patients.

Last week, 38 patients died with ages ranging from 54 to 95. All of them had serious co-morbidities.

Vaccinations picking up speed again

Last week, the number of administered vaccine doses increased significantly. There were 32,405 doses administered, up from 13,252 the week prior.

18,188 fully vaccinated people have now received one booster dose and 42 people have received two booster doses.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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