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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
COVID-19 epidemic to continue — avoid infection by following given guidelines and recommendations

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 12.11.2020 10.00
Press release 272/2020

The current epidemiological situation is characterised by rapid regional developments. Finland still has good opportunities to keep the situation relatively stable by international comparison. This requires that people continue to stay alert and patiently follow the guidelines and recommendations issued by the authorities. We should not be lulled into thinking that the epidemic will end quickly.

To prevent the spread of the epidemic, it is necessary to continue to take timely and sufficiently extensive regional measures, provide rapid testing and trace infections effectively. 

Currently, the estimated basic reproduction number is 1.15–1.2, with a 90 per cent probability.
During the period of  2–8 November, the majority of the new cases were of domestic origin. Cases where the virus was contracted abroad accounted for about eight per cent of all new cases, leading to only a small number of further infections. 

During the latest period (2–8 November), a total of 1,397 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, while in the previous week the number of reported cases was 1,452. The incidence of new cases was 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the previous week it was 26.

The total number of new cases in the last two-week period (26 October – 8 November) was 2,849, while in the preceding two-week period (12–25 October) it was 2,499. The incidence of new cases was 51 per 100,000 inhabitants and in the preceding two-week period it was 45.

Case numbers increasing in biggest cities

On 11 November 2020, seven regions reported having entered the acceleration phase. These regions are the Hospital Districts of Helsinki and Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, Pirkanmaa, Vaasa and Southwest Finland and the Åland Islands. The remaining 14 hospital districts are at a stable level, but there are individual cities and towns situated in some of these hospital districts that have entered the acceleration phase. These cities and towns are Kouvola, Kuopio, Siilinjärvi and Rovaniemi.

In the biggest cities in Finland (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere and Turku), the number of cases has increased. In many regions, however, the epidemic has been brought well under control, and as a result, the epidemiological situation has calmed down in these regions. This is the case in Vaasa, for example.

Most of the new cases are still reported among young adults, but the number of cases has increased slightly among older age groups, too. It is important to protect people, especially those in risk groups.

Efforts are always made to identify sources of infection

The source of infection was identified in about 55 per cent of all new cases. This is slightly less than during the previous week. In the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, the source of infection was known in about 40 per cent of the cases during the period of 2–8 November. As for the rest of the country, the source of infection was known in about 80 per cent of the cases.

Similarly to the previous weeks, about one third of all new cases in Finland were reported among people already in quarantine. 

Currently, more than half of the infections that are traced (56 per cent) have been contracted from people living in the same household. Cases where the virus had been contracted in various social situations (private gatherings or gatherings among friends and family) accounted for 15 per cent of the cases. In about 10 per cent of the cases, the virus had spread at workplaces, and in about seven per cent of the cases, it had spread through recreational activities. 

Most hospital districts reported cases of students with COVID-19, but the virus had, as a rule, been contracted somewhere else than in the school environment. These cases did, however, led to the quarantine of students and teachers, although further infections were rare. Only isolated cases of COVID-19 were reported in early childhood education and care. In less than four per cent of the cases, the virus had spread at food and beverage service establishments. This suggests that the restrictive measures have been effective. 

Slight increase in the number of people requiring hospital care

The number of patients requiring hospital and intensive care is still relatively low, although the number of patients has grown in recent weeks. On 11 November 2020, a total of 73 patients were receiving hospital care due to the COVID-19 disease, and 14 of them were in intensive care. 

It is estimated that about 14,000 people, which is nearly 75 per cent of all confirmed cases, have recovered from the disease. The total number of confirmed cases in Finland now stands at 18,345. There have been 365 deaths related to the disease.

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:

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)

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