Last week, coronavirus infections in Estonia grew 70 percent, especially among young people. The infection reproduction number R has grown to 1.3, the Health Board announced on Wednesday.
The infection reproduction R rate grew to 1.3 across Estonia since last week, meaning every infected person carries the infection on to 1.3 people on average. The rate grew from 1.2 to 1.42 in the northern region, from 1.1 to 1.35 in the eastern region and fell from 1.25 to 1.15 in the southern region, the Health Board's weekly overview (link in Estonian) reads.
Infections grew significantly over the previous week as the 14-day infection rate was at 1255 per 100,000 people on Monday, up from 807.7 the week prior. The infection increase is especially noticeable among people aged 15-45, said University of Tartu mathematician Krista Fischer.
Fischer noted that it is currently not the right time to ease restrictions, but if they eventually are, replacement restrictions need to be drawn up immediately.
Health Board infectious diseased department chief Hanna Sepp said Estonia must be prepared for the increase in infections to affect hospitalization rates next week. The workload on family physicians, the ambulance service and emergency medicine departments can also grow, Sepp said.
Last week, the rate of Omicron variant cases increased. Considering the increased number of contacts around the holidays, the end of the vacation period, the growing rate of Omicron cases and hospitalizations across Estonia, it is likely that the increase in infections will continue even faster, the weekly overview reads.
The 14-day infection rates grew 60 percent on average in all Estonian counties. Hiiu County saw the largest increase from last week (88 percent), followed Lääne-Viru (87 percent) and Võru (83 percent). The rate increased 72 percent in Harju County from the week prior.
Hanna Sepp said the increase in infections among young people can be attribute to the New Year's Eve celebrations, which saw closing time restrictions lifted.
There are a total of 11,578 Omicron cases diagnosed, the rate of the variant among all cases is 80.2 percent, as of Sunday. 58.8 percent of the people infected with the Omicron strain of the coronavirus have recovered without much trouble, the most common symptoms are a fever and a runny nose. Five people have required hospitalization, three of them were unvaccinated.
Data from the Health Board shows that Estonia is set to reach the "red" risk matrix level next week, meaning a very high risk of coronavirus spread. The estimation for this week is a total of 17,000 daily infections, daily numbers can exceed 3,000 on some days. The current daily case record since May 2020 is 2,306 from November 3.
As of Monday, the average age of hospitalized patients is 70 years, up from 68 the week prior. The rate of hospitalized patients aged 60 and up is 79.3 percent, but the hospitalization rate has grown among the 30-39 age group.
There were 16 deaths last week, involving people aged 63-92. 14 of these people were unvaccinated.
Since the start of the fourth wave - December 13 - the rate of unvaccinated deaths has grown: during the third wave (July 1 - December 12), the rate of unvaccinated people among all deaths was 74.5 percent, which has grown to 89.1 percent during the fourth wave.
There were 30,914 vaccine doses administered last week, 17.1 percent more than the week prior (26,388 doses).
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste