Saturday. 13.04.2024

The number of fatalities rise as health authorities begin to admit what was previously unreported: Finland is also registering many deaths from coronavirus in nursing homes.

On Tuesday 21 April, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) reported 43 more deaths due to coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish) than in the previous day. 

This is an increase of 44%, which brings the total number of fatalities to 141.

This is also the highest number of daily deaths reported in the country since the epidemic began. Even though it does not reflect the whole extent of the Finnish tragedy, it makes the official figures come a little closer to reality.

The official explanation given by THL is that the overall figure has risen "significantly from yesterday" because the Helsinki-Uusimaa hospital district (HUS) has reported also the deaths related to the disease that have occurred in the nursing homes of the Helsinki Metropolitan area.

But this explanation leaves open the possibility that the figures could increase much more when the rest of the country's hospital districts begin to report also on the deaths in their homes for the elderly.

In the capital region, which is also the one with the highest number of diagnosed infections, the controversy began last week, when HUS medical experts claimed there were dozens of unreported deaths in nursing homes. Finnish media have also reported about elderly deaths in residences in the Kuopio hospital area (KYS). And it is  possible that the problem affects more regions.

The health agency has disclosed a few details regarding the age of 101 of the dead. There are 5 people dead under the age of 60; other 7 people aged 60-69; there are 24 people aged 70-79; there are 41 people aged 80-89 and 24 people over the age of 90.

The inclusion of the death toll in nursing homes has raised the median age of the dead to 83 years. And it has also altered the official percentages of fatalities by gender: 58 of the dead are men and 42% are women. Just one day before those percentages were 68% for men and 32% for women.

Dead-intensive-care-hospitalized-coronavirus-21-April

Source: THL.

More than 4,000 infections reported

On Tuesday, THL also reported 146 new laboratory-diagnosed infections, which raised the total number of cases to 4,014. However, actual figures are likely to be much higher, since people with mild symptoms are not generally tested. When it comes to testing, Finnish health authorities give preference to health workers and other risk groups.

Helsinki-Uusimaa remains the epicenter and region hardest hit by the epidemic. According to official figures, to date, 2,630 cases of Covid-19 have been found in the capital metropolitan area. Of them, 1,482 in the city of Helsinki.

Finland-map-incidence-cases-21-April-2020

Number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants per region. Source: THL.

The Helsinki-Uusimaa region also remains the region with the highest incidence of infections: 156 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The region with the second highest incidence of the virus is North West Finland (Länsi Pohja), which borders with Sweden and has 136 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

On Tuesday 21 April, the official number of patients hospitalized  in Finland due to coronavirus was 202. And the number of people admitted to intensive care units was 63.

In relation to the total Finnish population (5,543,233), the average incidence rate of cases is 72 per 100,000 inhabitants.

According to THL, to date, Finnish laboratories have taken samples from approximately 61,800 people.

Finland reports 43 more coronavirus deaths