Covid infection rates falling but up by a third among over 60s
Coronavirus infection rates in Estonia are falling overall, however, the number of new cases increased by ten percent in the last week. According to the latest data provided by the Estonian Health Board, the number of infections rose by almost a third among those aged 60 and over.
There were a total of 3,370 new coronavirus cases in Estonia last week, of which 1,188 were confirmed by lab tests and 2,182 clinically diagnosed. The overall number of cases was ten percent higher than for the previous week.
Last week's infection rate last week was 1.08, down from the previous week's figure of 1.15.
The largest increase in infection rates over last week affected those in the 75-79 age group, where it reached almost 70 percent.
Among over-60s as a whole, the proportion of positive tests increased by 32.3 percent.
In contrast, the number of new cases among school-age children dropped by just over a half.
Average risk level
According to the hospitalization risk matrix, the current risk level for coronavirus transmission is categorized as average.
The average weekly number of new symptomatic Covid hospitalizations has increased from 7.1 to 8.4.
A total of 160 people were hospitalized due to Covid in the last week, of which, 59 had symptomatic COVID-19, an increase from the previous week's figure of 52.
As of Monday, September 26, a total of 176 patients are in hospital due to Covid, four of whom are in intensive care, while two are on ventilators.
The average age of hospitalized patients is 72 years, with 82.4 percent of hospitalized patients over 60.
According to sequencing data, the proportion of omicron strain is 100 percent. The proportion of the BA.5 variant has been stable in recent weeks and, together with its descendants, accounts for more than 90 percent of all currently circulating variants.
Last week, 14 people passed away after contracting Covid, with the average age of the deceased 78.4 years. Of these, six were unvaccinated, while eight were fully vaccinated. All those who passed away had pre-existing illnesses or health issues, with Covid the main cause of death for six of the 14.
90 percent of adults have antibodies
According to the latest results of the University of Tartu-led coronavirus prevalence study, the number of people with antiviral antibodies has reached a record high. However, the virus remains widespread among adults, with the results showing that almost one in 30 adults is at risk of infection.
Nearly 92 percent of those who participated in the screening study had antibodies against the coronavirus, an indicator which has grown by three percent over the last a month.
Ruth Kalda, professor of family medicine and director of the University of Tartu's Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health, said the result had been expected, as the number of people infected during the previous testing phase was extremely high.
Those best protected against the virus are those who have been vaccinated with antibodies.
In 77 percent of cases when people received antibodies only from contracting the virus, i.e., without being vaccinated, antibodies were still found to be present.
Antibodies were also detected in 57 percent of those who had neither been vaccinated nor knowingly had coronavirus, a figure which has seen the largest increase over the past month.
According to Kalda, this statistic confirms that the virus has continued to be widespread, but the symptoms of those affected have been very mild.
The study's behavioral survey shows a continuing decline in the perceived level of risk related to catching and spreading the virus. While the number of exposures to potentially infected persons has decreased somewhat, the vast majority of participants still take no actions to prevent further spread of the virus.
Readiness to receive booster shots is highest amongst older age groups, with almost half of over-65s surveyed planning to have a third vaccination. The figures are slightly higher amongst men than women.
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Editor: Michael Cole