Coronavirus latest: Infection numbers rising again in Finland

There are wide fluctuations in the virus rates around the country, even from week to week, say public health officials.

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Coronavirus graphic / Credit: iStock

After a few weeks of stability or even decline, the number of coronavirus infections is climbing again in Finland.

Senior officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs STM and Health and the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL gave their latest update on the coronavirus situation in Finland on Thursday morning, and said that seven hospital districts are now in the ‘accelerated’ phase of the pandemic: Helsinki & Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, Pirkanmaa, Vaasa, Southwest Finland, and Åland.

“The situation at the moment is by no means reassuring. Infection rates are on the rise in many areas” says Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki from STM.

While other hospital districts are still in the ‘base’ phase of the pandemic, a number of individual cities in those areas have gone into the accelerated phase including Kouvola, Kuopio and Siilinjärvi, Oulu and Rovaniemi.

The latest information from public health officials shows how quickly the virus levels can fluctuate, even as THL says that rapid testing and effective tracing of infections have “so far curbed the spread of the epidemic in the regions.”

For example Vaasa was in the more serious ‘spreading’ phase last week but has stabilised since then. The situation in Helsinki has also calmed down, say officials, although more cases have been reported in Espoo and Vantaa.

“We have the impression that a lot has been invested in tracing infections in Helsinki” to account for a fall in infection rates in the capital, says THL Chief Physician Emmi Sarvikivi.

Nationally, the proportion of positive coronavirus test samples is also increasing. Currently, about 1.8% of all tests come back positive for Covid-19.

Infections are still most common in younger people including young adults. Recently almost 80% of cases were diagnosed in people aged under 50, and almost half of cases were in people aged under 30. Those over 60 years of age accounted for less than 10% of infections and those over 70 years of age for only a few percent, according to THL’s data.