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In total, 567 new influenza cases and 1,348 COVID-19 cases were added this week

In the second week of the year a grand total of 4,592 people fell ill with acute respiratory infections. Overall, 27.4% of all of the new cases involved children. In total, 567 new influenza cases were registered. A total of 1,348 new COVID-19 cases were also added.

The number of those people who sought medical attention due to acute upper respiratory tract infections, or influenza, or even COVID-19, decreased in comparison to the previous week (by 13%, 42%, and 21% respectively). The lower figures were caused by the festive season and the school holidays, and are expected to rise again in the next few weeks.

Based on information which had been logged during a targeted survey of acute upper respiratory tract infections (with this survey being known as ‘Sentinel Monitoring’), infections are spreading at a moderate pace, with the spread of the influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses remaining extensive. The situation remains stable, but the spread of viruses has increased amongst schoolchildren.

Influenza A cases form 33.3% of all Sentinel samples to have been analysed. The majority of those infected are schoolchildren or adults. The percentage share of RS virus sufferers is increasing slowly, forming 21.4% of overall figures. Children up to the age of four are most affected by this infection. Human metapneumoviruses form 14.3% of all cases. Parainfluenza, rhinovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 viruses each form 4.8% of the total.

According to the Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre, sixty patients were hospitalised last week due to influenza. As many as 175 people overall have been hospitalised within the last two weeks. Since the beginning of the season, a total of 635 patients have been hospitalised due to influenza. Hospital treatment is required most amongst people over the age of sixty-five. Approximately half of all individuals who have needed hospital treatment have been elderly people, with children forming approximately a third of all such cases. Based on information which has been reported by Tartu University Hospital, West Tallinn Central Hospital, Ida-Viru Central Hospital, the hospitals of Narva, Pärnu, Viljandi, Rakvere, and Valga, and the South Estonian Hospital, nineteen people in total have required hospital treatment due to influenza. Based on operational data, as many as eight people have died this season due to influenza-related complications. Those individuals were aged between 57-91 and all of them had serious underlying illnesses.

In total, 1,348 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed over the week. Compared to last week’s figures, the total number of registered cases has dropped by 21.3%. As of Tuesday morning, a total of 149 people are in hospital due to COVID-19, of which fifty-six required treatment due to the presence of symptomatic COVID-19. This week saw twelve deaths being added to the overall total, involving individuals between the ages of 69 and 96. All of those individuals had serious underlying illnesses.

The Health Board and the University of Tartu are monitoring variants which are spreading within Estonia. Based on sequencing data, fully all of those cases have been caused by the Omicron strain of COVID-19. The BA.5 Omicron subvariant and the successors of this variant form 95% of all cases. The BQ.1.1 variant is the most prevalent of the BA.5 subvariants, forming 20% of all cases.

Memo for viral diseases:

  • If you are ill, please stay at home
  • Only visit individuals who are included in any of the risk groups if you yourself are healthy
  • If you are unsure, get tested
  • If you fall ill, get in touch with your family physician or call the family physician advisory line (1220)
  • If you are included in any of the risk groups, avoid crowded places or wear a mask in such places