The third wave of the coronavirus epidemic in Finland may have already passed its peak.
According to the latest monitoring report released by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), "slightly fewer new Covid-19 cases were reported in Finland between 22 and 28 March than in the first weeks of the month."
However, the health authorities do not want to lower their guard due to the celebration of Easter holidays and warn that things may change quickly if the current restrictions are not met: "It is possible that the epidemic could take a rapid turn for the worse," the report says.
The authorities are also concerned about the high number of hospital admissions and patients in intensive care.
The highest incidence
Currently in Finland there are major regional differences in the development of the epidemic. The south and the southwest of the country are the worst hit areas. The incidence of new cases remains very high in the hospital districts of Helsinki and Uusimaa (305.8 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants) and Southwest Finland (Turku area, 240.7).
The incidence is lowest in the hospital districts of South Ostrobothnia, Central Ostrobothnia, North Ostrobothnia, Lapland, Vaasa and Kainuu.
Between 22 and 28 March, about 4150 new infections were reported to the communicable diseases register, showing a decrease of more than 500 cases from the previous week. The incidence of new cases was 75 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the previous week it was 85.
The total number of new cases in the last two-week period was about 8,850, which was more than 500 cases fewer than in the preceding two-week period. The incidence of new cases was 160 per 100,000 inhabitants, while in the preceding two-week period it was 170.
More patients in hospitals
Despite the decrease in the number of infections, there was a considerable increase in the need for hospital care in March. On 31 March, a total of 295 patients were in hospital care due to Covid-19, showing no change on the previous week. Primary healthcare had 65 inpatients, while specialised healthcare had 180 and intensive care 50 inpatients.
There was a clear increase in the need for intensive care in March, and the number of intensive care patients peaked with 64 patients on 23 March. However, there was a decrease between 22 and 28 March.
The total number of deaths related to the disease was 844 on 31 March.Cases where the virus was contracted abroad accounted for 2% of all new cases, and the further infections resulting from them accounted for less than 1% of all cases.
Between 22 and 28 March, most of the new cases were reported among working-age adults, especially among those aged 20 to 29 years.