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Press release by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Favourable development of COVID-19 epidemic seems to have stalled in Finland

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
12.5.2021 19.15 | Published in English on 14.5.2021 at 12.02
Press release 130/2021

The decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases that had continued for weeks stalled between 3 and 9 May. Social contacts outside the family circle played a major role as a source of infection. Local COVID-19 clusters have emerged throughout the country as a result of private Labour Day gatherings, for example.  There is a real risk that we will see a resurgence of the epidemic, especially among young adults.

On 10 May 2021, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health made the decision to discontinue the nationwide tiers of COVID-19 prevention measures. Going forward, COVID-19 prevention in Finland will focus on regional restrictions and recommendations. The latest change in the development of the epidemic shows that the recommendations and restrictions in place must be lifted moderately.

Currently, the number of new cases in the country is at the same level as in October 2020.

Between 3 and 9 May, about 1,500 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, showing an increase of about 100 cases from the previous week. The incidence of new cases was 27 per 100,000 inhabitants between 3 and 9 May, while in the previous week it was 25.

The total number of new cases reported in the last two-week period was almost 2,880, which is about 670 cases fewer than in the preceding two-week period. The incidence of new cases was 52 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the preceding two-week period it was 64.

The estimated basic reproduction number is slightly higher than the week before; currently, it is 0.8–1.0, with a 90 per cent probability. 

Number of people getting tested is commendably high

More than 130,000 COVID-19 tests were taken between 3 and 9 May, while in the previous week the number of tests taken was about 116,000. Between 3 and 9 May, the percentage of positive samples of those tested was the same as the week before, about 1.2 per cent.

Between 3 and 9 May, the incidence of cases grew among 10–59-year-olds compared to the previous week. The incidence increased the most among 30–39-year-olds, by 19 per cent compared to the previous week. 

Based on the information collected regularly by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, children and young people have a low risk of infection in the school environment. Most of the infections among 10–19-year-olds have been traced back to home or other social contacts.

COVID-19 vaccines are now also offered to working-age people

In Finland, 89 per cent of people aged 70 or older and 35 per cent of all those over 16 have already received their first vaccine dose. The vaccine rollout has now largely moved from risk groups to working-age people. It is estimated that all those aged 16 or over will have received their first vaccine dose by the end of July. 

COVID-19 vaccinations are estimated to have reduced the need for hospital care. 

Need for hospital care is expected to decrease

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital care was highest at the end of March before Easter (between 22 March and 4 April). Compared to this, the total number of patients in hospital care has reduced by more than 60 per cent. 

Between 3 and 9 May, the number of inpatients in specialised and primary healthcare decreased from the previous week, but the number of inpatients in intensive care has remained more or less the same. According to the forecast, the number of periods in specialised healthcare and intensive care in Finland over the next week will be slightly lower than what was predicted last week.

On Wednesday 12 May, there were 24 inpatients in intensive care, 24 inpatients in primary healthcare and 66 inpatients in specialised healthcare. The total number of COVID-19 inpatients was 114. 

On 12 May 2021, the total number of deaths related to the disease was 930.

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:

Otto Helve, 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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