As of the morning of Monday, August 22, a total of 117 people in Estonia were hospitalized with COVID-19. In all, 3,606 new cases of COVID were diagnosed last week, and another just under 1,300 new lab-confirmed cases can be expected this week, the Health Board said in its weekly forecast.
A total of 3,606 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in Estonia last week, including 1,426 lab-confirmed and 2,180 clinically diagnosed cases, said Hanna Sepp, director of the Health Board's Department of Infectious Diseases.
"Compared with last week, [COVID] morbidity decreased by 13.2 percent, the number of lab-confirmed cases fell by 26.2 percent and the number of clinically diagnosed cases remained stable," Sepp said. "We can expect just under 1,300 lab-confirmed cases this week."
The department director noted that the reproduction number, R, is currently 0.85. According to the risk matrix based on the number of hospitalizations, the risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Estonia is currently at the yellow or medium level.
Sepp noted that similarly to the rest of Europe, COVID morbidity in Estonia has been on a downward trend in recent weeks, however considering the country's small size, the situation can change rapidly and the number of infections begin to rise again.
"On one hand, the fall in new infections is welcome news, but we have to consider that vacation season is drawing to a close and people are returning to work and school, which will very likely impact epidemiological indicators," she explained.
The Health Board official noted that fewer cases of COVID are also being reflected in official statistics as more people aren't falling as ill, aren't going to the doctor for every cough and cold and may not even suspect they might have COVID.
Also playing a role is the high degree of people who have been vaccinated and/or had COVID, making it more difficult for the virus to spread, she added.
117 hospitalized, three on ventilators
According to the 7-day rolling average, the number of people hospitalized due to COVID has fallen from 8.3 to 7.9. As of Monday morning, 117 people in Estonia were hospitalized with COVID, five of whom are in intensive care and three of whom in turn are currently on ventilators.
Five people died due to COVID last week, the average age of whom was 77.
This week, the number of hospitalizations is expected to remain stable around 110.
The 7-day average of COVID-19 morbidity was on a downward trend in ten and upward trend in five Estonian counties. The biggest increases were recorded in Jõgeva, Saare, Lääne and Rapla counties. The biggest decreases, meanwhile, were recorded in Võru, Viljandi and Ida-Viru counties.
Overall vaccination rate 63.5 percent
Between Monday, August 15 and Sunday, August 21, a total of 5,695 COVID vaccine doses were administered across Estonia, including 375 initial doses.
In all, 475,341 people have received additional or booster doses, putting Estonia's overall vaccination rate with two or more doses at 63.5 percent.
The results of wastewater monitoring last week indicate that the spread of the COVID-19 virus in wastewater is at the red or very high risk level in 61 percent of the country, up from 48 percent the previous week.
The amount of COVID virus particles detected in wastewater remains high throughout much of Estonia.
As in the previous week, the highest levels of COVID-19 virus particles were detected in Ahtme, Ida-Viru County. The lowest levels, meanwhile, were detected in Maardu.
Editor: Aili Vahtla