The coronavirus situation in the metropolitan area has deteriorated rapidly, with the city announcing on Wednesday that it will increase its capacity for the anticipated growth of new Covid cases.
Among other things, the city will start opening a backup hospital in the Herttoniemi area, which will create 50 additional hospital beds.
The city is also planning to relocate staff to ensure continuity of health care. Non-emergency social and health services will be temporarily restricted to allow workers to focus on vaccinations, care for Covid patients and other first aid services.
There are currently about 70 Covid patients in hospitals in Helsinki, and according to the city, their number will continue to grow. At the same time, the city said the number of Covid patients in the wider Uusimaa had doubled from nearly a hundred two weeks ago.
The Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS) raised its emergency preparedness to the highest level last month.
The city announced that the level of emergency preparedness will be reduced as soon as the situation allows.
Covid tests over the past week have confirmed more than 10,000 new cases in the metropolitan area alone.
The city also noted that an increasing number of working-age people have become unemployed due to coronavirus infections or coronary infection. It added that absences due to infections or quarantine regulations also increased among city employees.
According to the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Omicron variant is present in about 90 percent of new cases in the metropolitan area.
National Covid press conference
The number of new cases of coronavirus in Finland has increased significantly in recent weeks, but the general need for hospitalization for Covid patients has not increased at the same rate. Mika Salminen, THL’s Director of Health Security.
"The variant has spread all over Finland. We can expect that a [healthcare] the situation in the metropolitan area will be the same throughout the country," he said.
Salminen commented at the first coronavirus joint meeting of the year with members of THL and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on Wednesday.
The number of patients in need of intensive care has increased, but according to Salminen, the total need for hospital care elsewhere in Finland has not yet increased in relation to the number of new cases.
According to THL, between 38 December 2021 and 1 January 2022, approximately 38,700 new cases of Covid were diagnosed in Finland. The week before, the new number of cases was just over 21,000.
THL boss: Schools should continue normally
Asked by a reporter about opening schools after the holidays, Salminen said school classes should normally be opened instead of distance learning.
"It is very important that children receive an education and experience a normal life if possible. The longer the epidemic lasts, the more important it becomes," he said.
Liisa–Maria Voipio–The barThe director of strategic affairs at the ministry said the number of positive Covid tests in the country had doubled in recent weeks, but said the actual number of infections was much higher than the official figure.
"We can talk about magnitudes," he said.
The number of deaths has also risen recently, but he says the ratio of deaths to the number of cases is now quite different from the early stages of the epidemic, when the number of cases was much lower.
He said the majority of deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses were over 70 years of age.
Salminen said THL will update the guidelines on abbreviated quarantine rules as needed.
"The matter is now being actively considered" he said.
There is already a shortage of staff in healthcare facilities due to quarantine regulations and employee infections. Several experts have suggested reducing the required 10-day quarantine to five to allow workers to return to work more quickly. The employer’s main group, EK, has also called for a reduction in quarantines.
Source: The Nordic Page