STOCKHOLM - The coronavirus is spreading across all age groups in Sweden, the country's Public Health Agency said on Tuesday as it presented the latest COVID-19 figures at its bi-weekly news conference.
The spread of the coronavirus among those aged 70 and up is particularly worrisome, said Sara Byfors from the agency, since they are most likely to need hospital care and most at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying.
Byfors said unlike the previously slow rise in infections, Sweden is now experiencing a more rapid spread. That means "everyone must be part of halting the infection rate."
Johanna Sandwall, head of emergency preparedness at the National Board of Health and Welfare, said that the healthcare system is strained and that non-essential medical interventions and care will likely be postponed.
Sweden's intensive care units (ICUs) are near capacity, with around 80 percent of beds currently occupied. A total of 543 out of 681 ICU beds with respirator access are occupied -- 265 of them by COVID-19 patients -- and the vacant beds are unevenly distributed across the country, Sandwall said.
With 153 new COVID-related deaths reported between Friday and Tuesday, Sweden's total death toll is now 7,667. The number of confirmed cases stands at 341,029, up by 20,931 from Friday.