Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Number of patients receiving hospital care due to COVID-19 remains high — focus on people’s own measures to prevent spread of infections
The COVID-19 epidemic in Finland shows no signs of abating, although there is some regional variation in the intensity of the epidemic. The epidemic continues to put a strain on hospital care capacity. The need for intensive care has remained unchanged. Vaccinations continue to provide effective protection against the most serious forms of COVID-19. As the restrictions have been eased, the focus is now on people’s own measures to prevent the spread of infections.
The number of COVID-19 inpatients in primary healthcare continued to rise between 7 and 20 March. On Wednesday 23 March 2022, there were a total of 542 COVID-19 inpatients in primary healthcare, compared to 466 two weeks earlier. There is no clear trend in the number of inpatients in specialised healthcare, as the burden on specialised healthcare has remained high but stable at about 350–400 inpatients. Approximately one out of three patients in specialised healthcare are being treated mainly for some other reason than COVID-19. Between 7 and 20 March, a total of 76 new COVID-19 patients were admitted to intensive care. The number of intensive care patients decreased at the end of January, and since then, it has remained at around 30–40.
Currently, the estimated effective basic reproduction number is 0.90–1.05, with a 90 per cent probability. A value of around 1 reflects the uncertainty about which way the epidemic is going. The number has increased slightly since it was reported previously. The number was then 0.80–0.95. The estimated effective basic reproduction number is based on the number of COVID-19 cases in specialised healthcare.
The overall level of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in Finland’s wastewater has remained high. 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 Sunday 20 March 2022, the total number of deaths which had occurred within 30 days of a positive COVID-19 test and which had been reported to the communicable diseases register stood at 2,846. The average age (median) of those who have died during the epidemic is 83 years. In the past two weeks (7−20 March), a total of 275 new deaths were reported, of which 252 (91.6%) were reported among people over the age of 70.
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. It is recommended that also 12–17-year-olds who belong to risk groups get a third vaccine dose. By 20 March 2022, 87.2 per cent of people in Finland who are 18 years of age or over had received at least two vaccine doses and 62.6 per cent three vaccine doses. Nationally, there has been a clear slowdown in the number of people getting vaccinated when compared to situation at the beginning of this year.
The means to combat the epidemic are targeted local and regional measures. As the restrictions have now been eased, the focus is on people’s own measures to prevent the spread of infections, avoiding close contacts when ill, using home testing, and as high a vaccination coverage as possible. The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has compiled the key monitoring information on the COVID-19 epidemic on its website.
Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected]
Otto Helve, Chief Physician, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected]
Mia Kontio, Chief Specialist, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected]