Health Board: Covid infection rates may start to fall next week

Coronavirus testing signage.
Coronavirus testing signage. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While the Covid infection rates are showing signs of either stabilization or slight decline in most regions of Estonia, the omicron variant is still rising in the Health Board's (Terviseamet) eastern region, making for an overall growth. The rate of spread may only start to fall from next week, the board says.

Infectious diseases adviser at the Health Board Irina Dontšenko said Wednesday that: "Although the rate of illness has slowed down, we are still likely to see further growth this week."

The proportion of hospital cases resulting from the Omicron strain is currently 78–79 percent, while the proportion of delta variant cases is declining very rapidly, the board says.

Dontšenko added that: "Those who were hospitalized with the delta strain have by now predominantly been discharged and are recovering. The hospital currently has patients with predominantly the omicron strain."

The board registered over 41,000 cases of Covid last week, with the highest rates on Saaremaa and Hiiumaa and in Ida-Viru County. The current "R" infection rate is around 1.4.

319 people were hospitalized with a severe Covid last week, up 15 percent from a week earlier.

"There are no signs of a decline in the number of patients in hospitals, and this is still on the rise," Dontšenko added, though said the need for intensive care and ventilators is falling.

The board is less enthusiastic than the government for abolishing Covid certification just yet, at least until the situation stabilizes or rates start to fall.

Covid certification among school-children is ending next week, while discussions are ongoing about the potential overall removal of the system from mid-February. Lithuania is abolishing its Covid certificates this weekend, the English-language portal of public broadcaster LRT reports.

In the case of a suspected infection without severe symptoms, the public should still call the family doctor advice line on 1220 in order to get a testing referral, rather than calling their own family doctor, the board says.

Over the past week, 25 people aged between 34 and 94 who had contracted Covid died. 80 percent of these people were unvaccinated.

Around 45,000 new infections have emerged in the past week, an average of 8,000 per day, with the highest growth in the 35-39 and 50-54 age groups, while rates of infection are high among children.

While work-related infections have fallen (around 5 percent of total origins), almost half of infections were picked up from within the family circle. At the same time, the number of infections whose origins are unknown has risen sharply, by about a fifth, indicating a widespread viral spread.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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