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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Significant rise in number of COVID-19 cases and increased need for hospital care

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
25.2.2021 9.47 | Published in English on 25.2.2021 at 13.44
Press release 44/2021

A total of over 3,400 new COVID-19 cases were reported between 15 and 21 February 2021, which is clearly more than in the previous week. The incidence of new cases was 62 per 100,000 inhabitants in the whole of Finland, while in the preceding week, it was 46 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Most of the new cases were reported among working-age adults, particularly among young adults. People under 50 years of age accounted for around 80 per cent of all cases and people under 30 years of age for around 45 per cent of the cases. People aged over 60 accounted for about 9 per cent of all confirmed cases, and people aged over 70 accounted for about 3 per cent of the cases. 

A total of over 11,000 people were quarantined between 15 and 21 February, which is over 2,700 people more than in the previous week.

These figures are from the monitoring report published weekly by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

Situation in Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa remains worst in Finland — large clusters of COVID-19 in many areas

In recent weeks, the COVID-19 situation has worsened particularly in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. The incidence of new cases has also risen in nine other areas over the past two weeks. However, the incidence of new cases fell or remained the same in 11 hospital districts.

Some of the new cases originated from known chains of transmission whereas others originated from outside these chains.

A number of hospital districts reported mass exposures that have resulted in chains of transmission. For example, in the Hospital Districts of Satakunta, South Savo and North Karelia and the Åland Islands, the incidence of cases increased many times over between 15 and 21 February when compared to the previous week.

Some of the new transmission chains could have been prevented if the recommendations and restrictions in place had been followed carefully. The fact that people have waited too long to get themselves tested have, in some cases, resulted in large-scale transmission chains.

During the winter holiday period, tourism may increase the likelihood of the disease spreading also in areas where the COVID-19 situation is more stable.

In the whole of Finland, the number of people requiring hospital care has increased during the past week. The need for intensive care has also increased over the past few weeks, but the capacity of intensive care has not been threatened on the national scale. 

According to the information available on 24 February, a total of 193 people are receiving hospital care due to COVID-19 in Finland. Of them, 86 are inpatients in specialised healthcare, 72 inpatients in primary healthcare and 35 inpatients in intensive care. A week ago, a total of 132 people were receiving hospital care due to the COVID-19 disease. 

The number of deaths related to the disease is slowly decreasing. Between 15 and 21 February, the number of deaths was 14, between 1 and 7 February, it was 21, and between 8 and 14 February, the figure was 17.  

Effective measures needed to prevent virus variants

So far, a total of 690 cases of the new virus variants have been confirmed in Finland. Of them, 660 are cases of the UK variant.

The current epidemiological situation calls for highly effective measures to curb the spread of the virus in the coming weeks and months. Swift and extensive restrictive measures are also effective against the virus variants. 

Coronavirus is transmitted efficiently particularly between people who are in close contact for a longer time. Each of us can do our part to slow down the spread of coronavirus. It is important to reduce close contacts even if you are healthy, and all those with even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms must get tested promptly. 

Inquiries: 

Mika Salminen, Director, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (development of the epidemic) 
Taneli Puumalainen, Chief Physician, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (development of the epidemic)
Kari Auranen, 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) 
Pasi Pohjola, Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (situational picture and modelling group)
 

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