Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the National Institute for Health and Welfare
Coronavirus epidemic remained stable in August
The coronavirus situation remains stable in Finland, although the number of infections and the incidence of the disease increased at the beginning of August, compared to the low figures in June and at the beginning of July. Since then, the numbers have stabilised and remained largely unchanged for a month.
During the latest period (week 35, 24–30 August), a total of 132 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, while in the previous week (week 34, 17–23 August), the number of reported cases was 187.
Currently, the estimated basic reproduction number is 1.20-1.30, with a 90 per cent probability. The national incidence of new cases during week 35 (24–30 August) was 2.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is slightly less than in the previous week.
The incidence of new cases in the two-week period (weeks 34–35, 17 July–30 August) was 5.8 per 100,000 inhabitants and in the preceding two-week period (weeks 32–33, 3–16 August) it was 6.0 per 100,000 inhabitants.
A large part of the exposures occur during leisure time
Cases of both domestic still and foreign origin have been reported in Finland. The source of the infections is evenly spread to several countries.
Some of the new confirmed cases are related to known domestic or foreign-based chains of transmission and clusters of cases that are being monitored. However, the source of all infections is not known. During week 35 (24–30 August), the source of infection was known in more than half of the domestic cases. The estimate is based on data provided by 10 hospital districts.
A number of domestic mass exposures have taken place in larger family gatherings, public events and recreational activities. Most of the exposures are related to leisure time, but some people have been exposed to the coronavirus in workplaces. Several mass exposures have also been reported in daycare centres, schools and educational institutions in recent weeks. So far, the clear increase in the number of exposed persons has not led to a clear increase in the number of infected persons.
The aim is to carefully track the transmission chains of all new cases in order to prevent new infections as effectively as possible. The local health authorities have been very successful in preventing further infections.
- The situational picture and modelling group’s most recent and previous reports are available on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL):Monitoring coronavirus (THL, in Finnish)
All infections in the population likely not detected in the spring
In monitoring the number of cases and the incidence of the disease, it should be noted that a direct comparison between the current infections and the epidemic situation in spring 2020 may be misleading. It is likely that a smaller proportion of the infections in the population was detected in the spring than through the extensive testing now.
A total of 8,161 positive cases have been verified in Finland by 2 September 2020. There have been 335 deaths related to the disease. It is estimated that 7,350 people, i.e. over 90 per cent of all confirmed cases, have recovered from the disease.
During the most recent monitoring period, the epidemiological situation has remained stable in the majority of hospital districts. No new cases were detected in eleven hospital districts in week 35 (24–30 August) and only five hospital districts reported more than five cases.
On 2 September 2020, a total of nine patients were receiving hospital care due to the COVID-19 disease. Two of them were in intensive care. The number of hospitalised coronavirus patients has remained at a low level since the beginning of July.
Few positive test results relative to the number of tests
At present, the testing capacity of laboratories is more than 16,000 samples per day. In the past two weeks (weeks 34–35, 17 July–30 August), the number of coronavirus tests have increased to between 11,000 and 14,000 daily. At national level, the proportion of positive samples of those tested has remained very low.
Taneli Puumalainen, Chief Physician, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (epidemiological questions)
Kari Auranen, Professor, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (projection models)
Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Strategic Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (situational picture and modelling group)