Health Board: 1,200 new COVID-19 cases, 350 flu cases registered last week

COVID-19 test kits. Photo is illustrative.
COVID-19 test kits. Photo is illustrative. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

In the week of February 13-19, a total of 3,163 people in Estonia contracted acute respiratory infections, 40.1 percent of whom were children. In all, 356 new cases of influenza and 1,204 cases of COVID-19 were registered last week, the Health Board said Thursday.

Compared with the previous week, the number of new cases of COVID-19 remained stable last week, while the number of cases of the flu saw a slight increase, according to a press release.

A total of 180 flu infections were laboratory-confirmed last week, 83 of which were influenza A and 97 influenza B viruses. A total of 12 influenza A and 14 influenza B viruses were more precisely identified, including six A(H1N1)pdm subtypes and six A (H3) subtypes. Currently circulating in Estonia are three flu subtypes: influenza A(H1N1), influenza B Victoria and influenza A (H3N2).

According to data gathered via sentinel surveillance of acute upper respiratory infections, the incidence of infections can be assessed as moderate, but the spread of influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses as still extensive.

Based on initial information, 65.9 percent of all tested sentinel samples tested positive for influenza-type viruses, with influenza A accounting for 14.6 percent, influenza B and human metapneumovirus (hMPV) each for 7.3 percent, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) 14.6 percent, rhinovirus 12.2 percent and the SARS-CoV-2 virus 4.9 percent of all tested sentinel samples.

16 flu deaths this season

According to initial data from the Health and Welfare Information Systems Center (TEHIK), 31 patients were hospitalized in Estonia due to the flu last week, with specified data bringing the total number of hospitalizations in the previous two weeks to 168.  

A total of 1,091 people have been hospitalized with the flu this season. The need for hospital treatment increased among children and working-age adults; the Health Board believes this increase is related to the codominant influenza A(H1N1)pdm 2009 strain currently spreading in Estonia.

According to the information available to the Health Board, 42 people between the ages of 13-91 required intensive care due to the flu last week, one of whom was previously considered to be healthy.

In all, 16 people between the ages of 13-91 have died due to complications from the flu since the start of the current flu season.

In total, 1,204 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Estonia last week, with cases on the rise on week among adults and the elderly.

A total of eight people died due to COVID last week, ranging in age from 71-92, and all of whom had serious comorbidities.

As of this Tuesday morning, 121 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized across the country, 43 of whom required hospitalization specifically due to symptomatic COVID-19.

Starting February 6 and until supplies last, flu vaccines are available for free for everyone in Estonia.

Omicron strains accounting for all COVID cases

According to sequencing data, Omicron strains currently account for 100 percent of COVID infections in Estonia, with Omicron BA.5 and subsequent variants alone accounting for 62.5 percent of all sequenced samples.

Omicron BA.2 and XBB recombinants of its subsequent variants currently account for 18.75 percent each of sequenced samples.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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