As the R rate infection indicator increases, Estonia is set to reach the "high" or "orange" level of risk, but the risk level could even hit "very high" or "red" in January, the Health Board's weekly overview (link in Estonian) reads.
The 14-day infection rates have recently grown in Lääne, Tartu, Pärnu, Harju, Jõgeva and Viljandi counties and was stable in Põlva County, while remaining in a slight downward trend in other counties. In general, the downward trend has ended, the Health Board said.
The infection rate R has increased to 1.1, which means every infected person carries the coronavirus to 1.1 people on average, meaning the number of infections is on the rise.
The Health Board estimates that there could be 4,500 new infections recorded this week. Low testing activity before the holidays does not provide a clear picture, however.
Considering infection trends and the current spread of the Omicron strain, it is highly likely than infection indicators begin increasing rapidly at the start of 2022.
According to the government's risk matrix, which also takes hospitalizations into account, the risk of coronavirus spread in Estonia is currently "moderate" or "yellow", but it will reach the "high" or "red" level next week. It is likely to hit "very high" or "red" in January.
Omicron strain sweeping the nation
While the Delta variant is still the dominant coronavirus strain in Estonia, the rate of Omicron variant cases has gone up significantly from last week - from 2 percent to 16 percent.
Domestic spread has increased as up to 84 percent of the diagnosed cases are local residents, mostly linked to different outbreaks in Tartu education establishments.
Cases linked to travel from abroad stemmed from 28 countries with 47 from Finland, 24 from the UK and 20 from Egypt. There were a total of 198 cases linked to travel, which made up 5.6 percent of all infections.
As of December 20, the average age of hospitalized patients has gone from 67 to 69.
Last week, there were 23 deaths linked to the coronavirus. The average age was 80.7 years, 21 of the dead patients were unvaccinated. The two vaccinated people had completed their vaccination process with the Pfizer vaccine.
38,578 vaccine doses were administered last week, up 8.39 percent from the week prior (35,590 doses).
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste