Corona status

Coronavirus situation in Lapland now

Wednesday 5 May 2021

The translated version of the coronavirus review for Lapland is published once a week.
Everyone staying in Lapland must take a coronavirus test even with the slightest of symptoms that are related to the coronavirus.

Links about the current situation:

Official instructions from Lapland to travellers who suspect they may have caught the coronavirus

THL: Travel and the coronavirus pandemic

Additional guidelines, current recommendations, and restrictions for hospital districts

THL: Progress with COVID-19 vaccinations

Lapland Hospital District

(current information at 12:42)

The Lapland Hospital District is in the baseline phase of the epidemic. Since mid-March, the number of new cases of Covid-19 has clearly started to decline, and the epidemic in Finland is calming down, at least for the time being. The recommendations and restrictions that have been issued and diligent adherence to these have reversed the direction in which the epidemic is developing. As we go through the spring, the progress of vaccinations and seasonal variation will also help to improve the epidemic situation. 

The incidence rate based on the last two weeks (19 April – 2 May) is 18.0 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The incidence rate based on one week (26 April – 2 May) is 14.5 per 100,000 inhabitants.

This incidence rate also includes cases of patients who live outside the Lapland Hospital District area. For this reason, the figure can differ from that announced by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) that does not count those living outside of Lapland. 

New infections have been confirmed in Sodankylä, and the source of these is unknown – people living in the area should now be tested even with the slightest of symptoms

Last week (week no. 17, 26 April – 2 May 2021), a total of 17 coronavirus infections were confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District. A total of 3,331 coronavirus tests were taken in the Lapland Hospital District, with 3,225 of these being rapid antigen tests. The proportion of positive test results in relation to the total number of tests taken was 0.51 percent.

A total of four (4) new coronavirus cases have been confirmed so far this week. Three of these infections have been confirmed in Sodankylä and the sources of these infections are unknown. In addition, a case was confirmed in Pello that came from abroad.

A number of infections have now been confirmed in Sodankylä, the origins of which are unknown and a link with the infections recorded in the military garrison of Sodankylä cannot be established. All residents in Sodankylä should now be tested even with the very slightest of symptoms.

Otherwise, the coronavirus situation in the Lapland Hospital District remains calm. Most of the infections reported last week relate to infections occurring in the Sodankylä military garrison, and most of the infections are with people who do not live in the region. The official incidence rate of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare for the Lapland Hospital District is currently 5.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. This figure does not include people who live outside the district, but whose infection has been confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District. Therefore, infections with people registered as living in the Lapland Hospital District area remain low.

As of 3 May, public events with the number of participants exceeding 50 people can be organised in the Lapland Hospital District if special precautions are in place – for private events, the public gathering restriction has been raised to a limit of 50 people

The Coronavirus Coordination Group of the Lapland Hospital District, convened a meeting on 30 April and updated the coronavirus recommendations for the area as follows:

  • Private events with up to 50 people participating can now be organised starting from Monday 3 May.
  • In secondary schools, the recommendation for pupils to wear a face mask has now been lifted. For upper secondary education establishments, the lifting of recommendations is decided by the local authorities responsible for communicable diseases.
  • However, the Coronavirus Coordination Group will continue to recommend the use of face masks for the employees of schools and early childhood education establishments in the Lapland Hospital District, if safe distancing cannot be maintained.

In addition, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland has decided that, starting on 3 May 2021, public events or public gatherings can be organised in the Lapland Hospital District in indoor areas and demarcated outdoor areas for more than 50 people, but only if special precautions have been taken.

In these events, the safety of the participants must be guaranteed by placing the spectators in separate stands or in areas where no more than 50 persons may be present at any one time. Each demarcated section or area shall have its own access routes, event personnel and services, such as potential catering service facilities and sanitary facilities. The organiser of the event must ensure the safety of the public by following the hygiene and safe distancing guidelines for public events provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Information bulletin issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland on 30 April 2021

Coronavirus vaccinations are progressing in the Lapland Hospital District

Situation on 4 May 2021: Of the population of the Lapland Hospital District, 30.3 percent of the population have received the first dose of the vaccine and 6.6 percent have received the second dose of the vaccine.

Of the total population of Finland, 30.9 percent have received the first dose of the vaccine and 3.1 percent have received the second dose of the vaccine.

Number of positive coronavirus tests confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District by week

Week no. 16 (19–25 April): Four (4) cases

Week no. 17 (26 April – 2 May): 17 cases

Week no. 18 (current week): Four (4) cases (as of 5 May at 12:42)

The total number of cases confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District on the basis of coronavirus tests conducted at testing stations is 782. This figure also includes persons living outside the area.

Infection Control Unit

***

Länsi-Pohja Hospital District

(current information at 12:40)

The Länsi-Pohja Hospital District is in the acceleration phase of the epidemic.

Epidemic situation is now on a knife edge – all graduation parties must be postponed until the autumn

During last week, 15 coronavirus infections were confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District, nine of which were infections reported with people already in quarantine. In addition, the chain of infection related to the Sodankylä military garrison involved a total of seven infections in the area.

During the current week, the number of new cases confirmed to date is seven. The two-week incidence rate for the district is 70.4 per 100,000 inhabitants and is the fourth highest incidence rate in Finland. The area is still in the acceleration phase.

At its meeting, the Regional Pandemic Working Group discussed issues related to school graduations and celebrations. The Regional Pandemic Working Group decided to stick to its strong recommendation that it issued last week for graduation celebrations and parties to be postponed until the autumn.

According to the results of the sequencing tests, the British variant of the coronavirus has become predominant in the Länsi-Pohja district. This type of virus is even more transmissible than the wild-type coronavirus, so organising any kind of gatherings or parties poses a major risk to the worsening of the epidemic situation just before the summer begins. The epidemic situation is currently on a knife’s edge.

All recommendations and restrictions currently applied in the Länsi-Pohja area are listed here and on the Hospital District website. The current coronavirus restrictions and recommendations are valid through to 23 May 2021. The next time the Regional Pandemic Working Group will review these restrictions and recommendations is next week.

The Regional Pandemic Working Group is concerned about the situation in the Länsi-Pohja district. Due to the difficult coronavirus situation in the Swedish County of Norrbotten, new chains of infections cross the border every week. Please refrain from crossing the national border unless it is absolutely necessary. A coronavirus test shall be carried out on arrival in Finland, unless the person entering the country has a valid pre-test certificate or certificate that states the person has already had the coronavirus.

People crossing the border are tired of complying with instructions – refusing to take a coronavirus test on the border places a burden on health care capacity in the area

Last week, a number of people refused to take a coronavirus test and to cooperate with the authorities on arrival at the Tornio border crossing point. The coronavirus infection is classified as being a generally hazardous communicable disease, which continues to cause people to be hospitalised and treated in intensive care units. People are also dying of the disease every day, also in Finland. The purpose of testing people at the border is to prevent the epidemic in Finland and to reduce the spread of the disease by asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

According to the regulations, the physician of communicable diseases is obliged to impose a compulsory health check on people who fail to comply and, if necessary, to make a request for assistance to the police if, despite the regulations, the person refuses to cooperate.

At present, a significant proportion of health care resources are spent on managing the pandemic, infection tracing, and vaccination measures. People crossing the border who refuse to take the coronavirus test will greatly increase the workload of healthcare staff. Any additional and unnecessary work resulting from this refusal to take a coronavirus test at the border crossing point is likely to undermine the regional capacity of the health care service. The municipalities do not have any additional resources for work related to the pandemic, as all resources are currently being used and these resources are already heavily burdened. Additional work takes resources away from preventive health care, for example.

We now urge people who intend on crossing the border to take a coronavirus test when entering the country and to strictly comply with all the instructions they are given at the border. Refusing to take a coronavirus test makes it difficult to control the epidemic and prolongs the current strict restrictions.

However, the progress of vaccinations provides a light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that the local communities in the region are making progress with vaccinations provides some hope that border crossing can be made easier in the coming months. At the moment, everyone must follow the instructions and assume their own responsibilities with regard preventing the epidemic from spreading.

The Länsi-Pohja Regional Pandemic Working Group

Number of positive coronavirus tests confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District by week

Week no. 16 (19–25 April): 29 cases

Week no. 17 (26 April – 2 May): 21 cases

Week no. 18 (current week): Seven (7) cases (as of 5 May at 12:40)

The total number of cases confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District on the basis of coronavirus tests conducted at testing stations is 664.

Infection Control Unit

Lapland Hospital District

Number of cases

2

Week before last

6

Last week

625

All

Länsi-Pohja Hospital District

Number of cases

16

Week before last

10

Last week

609

All

Incidence rate* by hospital district

*Incidence refers to the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the period.

Instructions Principle guidelines in Lapland:
In addition, please follow these general safety guidelines:

1. Take the coronavirus test

If you fall ill, even if you have mild symptoms, go for a coronavirus test and stay isolated until you receive the results of the test. There is a very low threshold for tests – make an appointment for your coronavirus test with your local health centre. Find the contact details for your locality from the section “Ask for advice or book an appointment for a coronavirus test.

2. Maintain a safe distance at all times

Adhere to social distancing rules in shops and public gatherings outdoors and indoors. Try to avoid all public gatherings.

3. Use a face mask

Face masks are recommended in the following situations:

  • When using public transport
  • When leaving home for a coronavirus test.
  • Passengers arriving in Finland from a risk area making their way from the place of arrival to quarantine or who they have an urgent reason to spend time outside the home during quarantine.
  • In all other situations, with indoor gatherings where close contacts cannot always be avoided.
  • If you belong to one of the risk groups, in addition to other precautions, use a face mask in shops, public indoor areas, public transport and other similar situations to make sure you are protected. The use of a surgical nose and mouth face mask is recommended.

The use of a face mask shows consideration for others and should be practiced. When the infection situation changes in Lapland, we will provide more recommendations, if necessary.

4. Cough in the correct way

Cough or sneeze into a disposable handkerchief or your own sleeve.

5. Take care of hand hygiene

Make sure you wash or disinfect your hands many times a day. A pocket-sized bottle of disinfectant is easy to carry with you!

6. Monitor the situation

Monitor coronavirus announcements, i.e. the so-called “Corona Status”. The coronavirus situation is not yet over, so please monitor how the situation develops, follow the guidelines and act responsibly.

7. Care

Don’t leave anyone alone, let’s take care of each other and enjoy life.