The Omicron coronavirus strain has not caused hospitalizations to suddenly spike, data shows. COVID-19 patients in Estonia's hospitals are suffering from other variants.
Last week the variant overtook the Delta stain to become the most dominant in the country. But it is not causing a surge of hospitalizations - at least, not yet.
Data from the Health Board shows the number of people in need of hospital treatment has remained stable since mid-December despite a rising infection rate.
In mid-November there were approximately 230 people receiving treatment, which is almost the same at the start of 2022.
The Health Board's Urmas Sule said this can be put down to the Omicron strain, which is thought to be less severe than Delta.
Currently, the majority of infected people are in south Estonia and particularly in Tartu and the surrounding region.
"But the number of patients who need hospital treatment are from here, in the northern region, i.e. Harju County and Pärnu County," Sule told ETV's current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday.
He said the need for hospital treatment is highest in areas where the Delta variant still dominates.
"As of this morning, I have no information that anyone in hospital has had the Omicron strain. So yes, we have predominantly Delta patients," Sule said.
However, the effect of the Omicron strain on the elderly is not yet known as it is largely circulating among young people. Sule said it is not known if the hospitalization rate will rise when it reaches the older age groups.
At West Tallinn Central Hospital, there were 53 coronavirus patients on Monday morning. This number has been stable for two months and the majority of patients are elderly.
Pille Märtin, head of the Infection Control Department, said the hospital does not have separate treatment plans for each variant. She said it is assumed the hospital is still treating Delta patients and the effects of Omicron are just starting to show.
The graph below shows the data for the last 30 days and it shows the rate of hospitalization has not changed.
Editor: Helen Wright