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Focus on supporting people’s own health security measures as epidemic continues and COVID-19 restrictions are eased

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 24.2.2022 10.02 | Published in English on 24.2.2022 at 12.59
Press release 54/2022
koronavirus

The need for hospital care has remained at a high but stable level. It is recommended that everyone aged 18 years or over take a third vaccine dose. The epidemiological situation is still serious. For that reason, the focus will be on people’s own measures to prevent the spread of infections as the restrictions are eased.

On 23 February, there were 354 COVID-19 inpatients in specialised healthcare. This is about the same as the week before when the number was 359 patients. The total number of patients in intensive care was 37, compared to 30 last week. Between 14 and 20 February, a total of 25 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to intensive care, while in the preceding week, the number of new patients was 32. An estimated 29 per cent of all COVID-19 patients on ordinary wards in specialised healthcare and 22 per cent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care were admitted mainly for some other reason than COVID-19. The percentage of COVID-19 patients on ordinary wards who were being treated mainly for some other reason than COVID-19 was at the same level as the week before. The percentage of patients in intensive care was five percentage points lower compared to the week before. 

Assessing the spread of the epidemic involves a considerable degree of uncertainty. Currently, the estimated effective basic reproduction number is 0.85–1.05, with a 90 per cent probability. This means that the number is slightly smaller than the week before when it was 0.95–1.15.

The overall level of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in Finland’s wastewater has remained high. The amount of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater have started to decrease only in Espoo and Helsinki, whereas it has continued to increase or remained stable in other regions where samples are taken. These results can be seen in the weekly report on wastewater monitoring to be published on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on Friday at 12.00.

On 23 February 2022, the total number of COVID-19-related deaths reported to the communicable diseases register was 2,351. In the past two weeks (10–23 February), a total of 225 deaths were reported, while in the preceding two-week period the figure was 232. As part of epidemiological situational awareness, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has monitored the number of deaths which occurred within a month of a COVID-19 diagnosis. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is currently examining the number of deaths where the primary cause of death was not, however, linked to COVID-19.

Vaccinations continue to provide effective protection against the most serious forms of COVID-19. It is particularly important that people aged 60 or over and those belonging to risk groups get a third vaccine dose. By 23 February, 88.7 per cent of people in Finland who are 18 years of age or over had received at least one vaccine dose, 86.2 per cent at least two vaccine doses and 60.4 per cent three vaccine doses. Over the past week (17–23 February), the uptake of the third vaccine dose among people aged 18 or over rose by approximately 0.8 percentage points. The increase in the uptake has continued to slow down: in the previous week, the uptake of the third dose rose by 1.2 percentage points. A fourth vaccine dose is recommended for those aged 12 or over who have a severely weakened immune system.

The means to combat the epidemic are targeted local and regional measures. As the restrictions are eased, the focus will be on people’s own measures to prevent the spread of infections, avoiding close contacts while sick, using home testing, and as high a vaccination coverage as possible. The epidemiological situation is monitored weekly. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has compiled the key monitoring information on the COVID-19 epidemic on its website.

Inquiries:

Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]

Mika Salminen, Director, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected]

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