542 people are hospitalized due to the coronavirus, the Health Board (Terviseamet) said Saturday morning. 14 people who had contracted the virus have died over the past 24 hours, while 1,894 new cases have been identified in Estonia over the same time-frame. A senior Health Board doctor said Saturday that around a third of the hospitalizations are among individuals who contracted the virus while in hospital due to some other issue.
The 14 deaths reported involved seven women, aged 57, 69, 74 (two cases), 88, 91 and 95, and seven men, aged 67, 71, 74, 82, 83, 88 and 92.
8,805 primary coronavirus tests were analyzed over the past 24 hours, with 1,894 of them (21.5 percent) returning positive, the board says.
Of the positive cases, 1,154 (60.9 percent) concerned unvaccinated people, while 740 cases were among vaccinated individuals.
542 people are hospitalized with the virus as of Saturday morning, up from 536 the day before.
Of these, 378 have severe symptoms. Of the 378 patients with severe symptoms, 266 (70 percent) are unvaccinated and the remaining 30 percent, 112 people, are vaccinated.
Seventy-one new coronavirus hospital cases were opened up over the past 24 hours, the board says.
9,868 coronavirus vaccine doses were administered over the past 24 hours, the board says, with 2,951 of these being first-time shots.
43,392 people have received extra or booster doses (beyond the original two doses, with most manufacturer's products) to date, the board says, while total vaccination coverage nationwide is now 57.1 percent.
For more data visit koroonakaart, which offers detailed data in Estonian, English and Russian.
Health board doctor: Close to one-third of patients contracted virus while in hospital
Viral spread in hospitals, most notably larger facilities such as the East-Tallinn Central Hospital (ITK), South Estonia Hospital (Lõuna-Eesti Haigla) in Võru, Põlva Hospital and the North-Estonian Regional Hospital (PERH) in Tallinn, means that nearly a third of the 542 patients hospitalized due to the virus had picked it up in hospital, having already been in-patients for some other reason..
Urmas Sule Health Board head of emergency medical staff, said that: "There are a total of 162 patients who have been infected while in hospital as of this morning. In those hospitals where the number of patients is higher, the vector patient h as also been able to infect others more than in smaller hospitals," adding that when the current wave began, infections found their way into hospitals in South Estonia via vector patients, at a time when there were no coronavirus wards set up.
Sule also said that the spread is not unprecedented and no conclusions should be drawn about safety measures in hospital, for instance since PCR tests sometimes do not return positive until after an at-risk patient is already hospitalized and has passed on the infection.
"Individuals are at their most contagious two days before the onset of symptoms, but a test should be positive if they have already passed the virus on to someone else," added Sule.
Hospital staff in particular should not be seen as likely vectors, he said, due to the precautionary measures they take, although it is not impossible for the virus to have been passed on via staff, he added.
The type of patient can also be a factor, he said. For instance, psychiatric patients are particularly at-risk and require such different treatment from other patients, that this can lead to viral spread, including Covid being communicated to nursing staff, Sule said.
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.
This article was updated to include information on the coronavirus spread within hospitals, and comment from Urmas Sule.
Editor: Andrew Whyte