Saturday February 27, 2021

People’s reluctance to coronavirus test worries govt

Published : 15 Jan 2021, 01:53

Updated : 15 Jan 2021, 10:43

  DF Report

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru and officials of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) spoke at a press conference on coronavirus situation on Thursday. Photo: Finnish government by Lauri Heikkinen.

The number and incidence of new COVID-19 cases and the number of patients requiring hospital care have decreased slightly since mid-December 2020, said the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in a press release on Thursday.

However, new cases are still found widely across the country. It is worrying that people get tested more seldom than before.

The development of the epidemic and the need for hospital care are now monitored closely in Finland, because the situation is much worse in many other countries.

The new COVID-19 variants found in the Great Britain and South Africa may be more transmissible and spread more rapidly. It is, therefore, possible that the epidemic will take a sudden turn for the worse across the country.

It was feared that Christmas and New Year would increase the number of infections, but so far it has not.

In the first week of 2021, a total of 1,787 new cases were reported to the communicable diseases register, showing a decrease of about 20 cases from that in the previous week.

More than half of the new cases were reported in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. The incidence of new cases was 32 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is about the same as in the previous week.

Over the Christmas and New Year holidays, the number of people tested was clearly lower than at other times. During the first week of January, positive COVID-19 cases accounted for 2.5% of all samples. The lower numbers of tests can be an indication that not all people with symptoms have actively sought to be tested. Because of this, some of the infections are not detected.

Most of the new cases are still found in younger age groups and in working-age adults. The percentage of cases in the older age groups increased in November, but this worrying development seems to have stopped for now.