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In total, 983 new influenza cases and 1,712 COVID-19 cases were added this week

In the first week of the year a grand total of 5,265 people fell ill with acute respiratory infections. Overall, 29% of all of the new cases involved children. In total, 983 new influenza cases were registered. A total of 1,712 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 24%, 33%, and 48% respectively). The lower figures were caused by the festive season and the school holidays.

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’), the infections are spreading intensively, with the spread of the influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses remaining extensive. The situation is showing signs of stabilisation though. The three-week school holidays slowed down the spread of viruses, but the numbers of those who have become infected with influenza and COVID-19 continue to grow slowly.

Influenza A cases form 30.6% of all Sentinel samples to have been analysed. The majority of those infected are schoolchildren or adults. The A(H3) strain of influenza A is currently dominant, with the percentage of the A(H1N1)pdm strain also increasing.

The percentage share of RS virus sufferers is increasing slowly, forming 19.4% of overall figures. Children up to the age of four are most affected by this infection. Human metapneumoviruses form 13.9% of all cases. The parainfluenza, rhinovirus, and SARS-CoV-2 viruses each form 2.8% of the total.

According to the Health and Welfare Information Systems Centre, seventy-six patients were hospitalised last week due to influenza. As many as 150 people overall have been hospitalised within the last two weeks. Since the beginning of the season, a total of 460 patients have been hospitalised due to influenza. Over the past week, the need for hospital treatment increased significantly amongst people over the age of sixty-five.

In total, 1,712 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed over the week. Compared to last week’s figures, the total number of registered cases dropped by 33.3%. As of Wednesday morning, a total of 175 people are in hospital due to COVID-19, of which seventy-nine required treatment due to the presence of symptomatic COVID-19. This week saw thirteen 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, 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. Sequencing has not yet revealed any cases of the XBB.1.5 strain in Estonia.

Memo for viral diseases:

  • If you are ill, 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