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Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Downward trend in COVID-19 infections – positive trend can be kept by continuing with restrictions long enough

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
8.4.2021 10.00 | Published in English on 8.4.2021 at 14.44
Press release 89/2021

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Finland dropped before Easter, and this downward trend continues. The current restrictions and recommendations and the closure of businesses serving food or beverages have clearly had an impact. The positive trend can be maintained by continuing with the restrictions, and they should not be dismantled too early or too quickly. The number of new cases remains high, amounting to over 3,000 a week.

There are major regional differences in the development of the epidemic. Southern Finland is still the worst affected area. Over the past two weeks, the incidence has been highest in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa and the Hospital District of Southwest Finland, despite a downward trend. The incidence is lowest in the hospital districts of South Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu, Länsi-Pohja and Lapland.

A drop in case numbers and incidence

Between 29 March and 4 April, about 3400 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, showing a decrease of nearly 1000 cases from the previous week. The incidence of new cases was 58 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the previous week it was 75.

The total number of new cases in the last two-week period was more than 7350, which was more than 2,250 cases fewer than in the preceding two-week period. The incidence of new cases was 133 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the preceding two-week period it was 174. Currently, the estimated basic reproduction number is 0.75–0.90, with a 90 per cent probability. This, too, is slightly less than the week before. 

More than 123,000 COVID-19 tests were taken between 29 March and 4 April, showing a decrease on testing numbers earlier in March. The percentage of positive COVID-19 cases of all samples taken in Finland was also decreasing at 2.6 per cent, compared to over 3 per cent for the whole of March.

In Finland as a whole, the source of infection was traced in nearly 70 per cent of all new cases of domestic origin. The success rate for contact tracing was thus at the same level as the week before. Between 29 March and 4 April, cases where the virus was contracted abroad accounted for 2.5 per cent of all new cases, and the further infections resulting from them accounted for 1.2 per cent of all cases. 

Growth in need for hospital care has stalled

There was a considerable increase in the need for hospital care and intensive care in March. The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care peaked at 64 on 23 March 2021. Since then the number of intensive care patients has decreased. Patient numbers in other hospital care have also dropped: on 7 April there were 45 patients in intensive care, 59 inpatients in primary healthcare and 146 inpatients in specialised healthcare. The total number of inpatients was 250, compared to 295 the previous week. On 7 April 2021, the total number of deaths related to the disease was 862.

Low infection risk for children in school and early childhood education and care

Between 29 March and 4 April, the incidence in all age groups was down on the previous week. The highest incidence was among 10–19-year-olds and 20–29-year-olds.

Children and young people seem to have a low risk of infection both in early childhood education and care and in the school environment. Most of the infections among 10–19-year-olds have been traced back to home or other social contacts. 

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. This week the report includes a monitoring report on COVID-19 infections among children and young people.

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)
Simopekka Vänskä, Senior Researcher, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, [email protected] (projection models) 
Pasi Pohjola, Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, [email protected] (situational picture and modelling group)