THL: Unvaccinated patients putting strain on healthcare system

Finland registered over 1,340 coronavirus infections on Thursday, a new record high number of daily cases.

File photo. Image: Arash Matin / Yle

The rapidly rising number of coronavirus infections, especially among unvaccinated individuals, is placing an increasing burden on hospital wards and intensive care units, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL said on Thursday.

At the end of last week, there were a total of 156 patients being treated in hospitals across Finland for the virus.

As of Thursday afternoon, that figure now stands at 306.

Speaking at Thursday morning's weekly coronavirus briefing jointly hosted by THL and the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, THL's project manager Anna Katz said the risk of needing hospital treatment is significantly higher among unvaccinated people than those who have received both jabs.

Between August and October, unvaccinated individuals were 19 times more likely to require hospital treatment and 33 times more likely to need intensive care.

"This is the same story that has been going on for several weeks, if not a year and a half, that is, that the virus will find the unvaccinated," Katz said.

Strain on healthcare system

The number of coronavirus patients being admitted to intensive care units has almost tripled over the last three weeks.

This is placing an increasing strain on Finland's healthcare system, most especially in the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district (HUS) where a third of intensive care beds are now occupied by Covid patients.

The increasing need to treat coronavirus patients has led to the widespread cancellation of non-urgent surgical procedures as well as some patient transplants.

Unvaccinated face higher risk of infection, hospitalisation

According to the figures released by THL on Thursday, unvaccinated people are three times more likely to become infected with the virus than vaccinated people.

This is reflected by infection figures and also by hospital admissions, which reveal that the number of unjabbed patients is three or four times higher across all age groups except those over 30 years of age.

"The number of unvaccinated people in both hospital and intensive care is much higher than that of people who have been vaccinated twice," Mia Kontio of THL told the Thursday morning briefing.

In addition, Kontio added that unvaccinated people over the age of 70 are five times more likely to die from the virus than double-jabbed people of the same age.

Record high number of daily cases

The number of coronavirus infections in Finland is continuing to rise.

On Thursday THL registered 1,344 lab-confirmed cases. This is the highest number of daily cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic, beating the previous high of 1,259 cases reported last Thursday.

In total, about 7,200 new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in Finland last week. This is significantly higher than the 4,000 infections reported during the last week of October.