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Press release by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
COVID-19 epidemic continues to subside in Finland — combating epidemic also important in summertime

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
17.6.2021 10.01 | Published in English on 17.6.2021 at 14.55
Press release 167/2021

The COVID-19 epidemic has continued to subside throughout Finland within the last two weeks. However, there is still regional variation in the development of the epidemic, as the incidence of COVID-19 cases is higher in some areas of southern Finland than in the rest of the country. Overall, the COVID-19 situation is calm, with most areas recording only a small number of new cases. The estimated effective basic reproduction number in Finland is currently 0.55–0.70, with a 90 per cent probability.

Although the epidemic has subsided considerably as we have moved into summer, it is also important to remember in summertime that infections can be prevented by practising good hand hygiene, keeping a safe distance from others and getting tested for COVID-19 if symptoms, even mild ones, occur. 

Between 7 and 13 June, a total of 543 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, which is about 170 cases fewer than in the preceding week when the figure was 717. The incidence of new cases has continued to fall. In the last two-week period (31 May–13 June), the incidence of new cases was 23 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the preceding two-week period (17–30 May), it was 40. 

In most of the areas, the epidemic was at a stable level on 16 June 2021, according to the overall assessments made by the hospital districts. Only three areas were in the acceleration phase: the Hospital Districts of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), Päijät-Häme and Kanta-Häme. None of the areas were in the community transmission phase. 

Testing and contact tracing continue to be effective

The number of conducted COVID-19 tests has decreased slightly. Between 7 and 13 June, over 90,000 tests were taken, which is more than 18,000 tests fewer than in the preceding week. The percentage of positive samples of all those tested was 0.6 per cent, which is about the same as the week before. This small percentage of positive samples suggests that infections among the population continue to be detected effectively. 

The source of infection was traced in two out of three new cases of domestic origin. This is slightly more than the week before. Between 7 and 13 June, about 2,200 people were placed in quarantine. People already in quarantine accounted for 37 per cent of all new cases between 7 and 13 June. 

The percentage of cases where the virus was contracted abroad has continued to grow. Between 7 and 13 June, the cases of foreign origin accounted for 19 per cent of all new cases, while in the previous week, they accounted for 16 per cent of the cases. However, further infections resulting from them have been prevented well as before, and they accounted for 2.7 per cent of all confirmed cases.

Numbers of patients in hospital care continue to fall

According to the hospital districts, a total of 43 people were receiving hospital care due to the COVID-19 disease on 16 June 2021. There were 8 inpatients in primary healthcare, 23 inpatients in specialised healthcare and 12 inpatients in intensive care. The numbers of patients have fallen over the past month, particularly in primary healthcare and specialised healthcare. The number of new periods in specialised healthcare and intensive care is expected to continue falling over the next week. 

On 16 June 2021, the total number of deaths related to the disease was 967.
COVID-19 vaccine does not remove the risk of contracting or transmitting the disease completely
In Finland, about 52 per cent of the population have received their first vaccine dose and 13 per cent their second dose.

The vaccine provides good protection against COVID-19 and its more serious forms as well as COVID-19 variants. It does not, however, remove the risk of contracting or transmitting the disease completely. It is therefore important that those who have already received their first or second vaccine dose get tested if symptoms occur. Like all other people, they should also follow the guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Each of us can do our part to slow down the spread of coronavirus. It is essential to continue to comply with the recommendations and restrictions currently in place. It is also recommended that people consider carefully whether or not it is necessary to travel abroad. 

The monitoring report on the epidemic published today and the previous reports are available on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. 

Inquiries

Mika Salminen, Director, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (development of the epidemic)

Simopekka Vänskä, Senior Researcher, 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),

Satu Koskela, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (regional restrictions and recommendations)
 

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