Thursday 4 March 2021
The translated version of the coronavirus review for Lapland is published once a week.
Anyone experiencing even the slightest of symptoms while in Lapland must take a coronavirus test.
Links about the current situation:
Lapland Hospital District
(current information at 12:00)
The COVID-19 situation has worsened throughout the country. The majority of hospital districts have now entered the spreading or accelerating phases of the epidemic. The Lapland Hospital District is now in the acceleration phase of the epidemic.
The incidence rate based on the last two weeks (week numbers 7 and 8, 15–28 February) is 79.6 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The incidence rate based on one week, i.e. week no. 8 (22–28 February) is 35.1 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.
All infections confirmed this week are either related to tourism or have come from outside the hospital district – during the spring break (skiing holiday), it is important to avoid places with high coronavirus figures
During this week, a total of 19 new infections were confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District area. All of these new infections were either related to tourism or came from outside the hospital district. The spring break begins in Lapland in the next few days. It is strongly recommended that places with high coronavirus figures be avoided. When travelling, it is important to stay among your own family or group and to minimise all contact with others.
During weeks 7 and 8, a total of 93 new infections were confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District area. of these infections, 40 percent were confirmed with people visiting the district and ten percent were with foreign persons participating in Rovaniemi’s World Rally Championship. This being the case, only half of the new infections confirmed over the last two weeks were found with residents of the district. The pressure of the pandemic on the Lapland Hospital District is now significant due to tourism. On the other hand, the infection cases have been found well, tracing work has been quickly initiated and tracing the infections has been successful, and no mass infection cases have been recorded. Because of the large numbers of tourists visiting the region, the true picture of the situation will only become apparent after a week’s delay.
Government decision to tighten restrictions in the Lapland Hospital District
The Lapland Hospital District area is still in the so-called acceleration phase, but due to the increasing numbers of tourists, coronavirus variants, and heightened risk of infection, the restrictions and recommendations in place for areas in the community transmission phase were adopted in Lapland. The coronavirus situation in the region has become distinctly more active during the past couple of weeks.
Convening on Friday 26 February, the Regional Coronavirus Coordination Group recommends that due to the prevailing situation:
- Secondary schools and universities should work and study remotely for a period of two weeks following the end of the spring break, i.e. 15–28 March. This recommendation does not apply to matriculation examinations that shall be organised in the normal ways.
- Private events and gatherings of over six people must be avoided.
- More remote working is recommended, if this is possible.
- The recommendation for wearing a face mask remains the same, i.e. everyone over the age of 12 years should wear a face mask in all indoor areas where safe distancing cannot be guaranteed.
- As with the earlier recommendation, it is recommended that all indoor team sports for those over 16 years continue to be suspended.
The Coronavirus Coordination Group would like to remind that, in accordance with the Communicable Diseases Act, social distancing rules must be followed, good hand hygiene must be practiced, surfaces must be effectively cleaned, and face masks should be used. In addition, it is important to remember to use a face mask on public transport and the take care of good hand hygiene.
Furthermore, according to a decision made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland, all public events, and gatherings of over six (6) persons are forbidden during 2–28 March 2021. See the current recommendations and restrictions in place for the Lapland Hospital District area from here.
It is extremely important to carefully adhere to all safety instructions. In addition to maintaining safe distances and ensuring good hand hygiene, face masks must also be used in all indoor areas in the Lapland Hospital District. By following the rules, we can prevent the epidemic from spreading through the population.
It is easy to get a coronavirus test in the Lapland Hospital District area and all municipalities provide a coronavirus test service free-of-charge for anyone living in or visiting the municipality. An enormous number of tests have been taken in the hospital district area, with the total number of tests taken last week being 6,524. Of these, 85 percent were rapid antigen tests that provide results a few hours after taking the test. Of last week’s tests, 0.63 percent were positive.
Secondary schools should employ remote teaching based on a risk assessment made by the municipality – secondary-level primary schools shall continue as normal for the time being
Review of the situation issued by the Regional Coronavirus Coordination Group on 2 March 2012:
In the Lapland Hospital District, the coronavirus situation is heightened. The infection incidence rate based on the last two weeks is 79.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. This figure includes all cases of infection confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District area, also visitors to the region. Half of these infections were confirmed with people visiting the region.
The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) separately records the number of infections in Lapland for Laplanders and visitors. Consequently, according to THL, our incidence rate is 47.8 per 100,000 inhabitants.
The Lapland Regional Coronavirus Coordination Group has processed the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on 2 March 2021, and has made the following resolutions based on the coronavirus situation in the region.
The risk of the epidemic spreading in secondary schools varies by municipality. It is recommended that the municipalities make a decision as whether or not to employ remote teaching techniques based on a risk assessment.
Due to the minimal risk of the spreading of the epidemic in the municipalities of the region, the secondary-level primary schools (grades 7–9) do not have to resort to remote learning. The epidemic situation is being very closely monitored and this issue will be reviewed once again in the future.
On the basis of Section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland will later decide on the use of public spaces or similar areas. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland will communicate its decision independently.
By order of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland, everyone crossing the border will be directed to a health inspection from 1 March onwards
On Friday 26 February, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland issued an order to direct all people crossing the national border to have a health check:
“The new coronavirus variants pose a substantial new epidemic threat, and effective efforts must be employed to prevent these variants from spreading in Finland. At every border crossing point, all people crossing the national border shall be directed to take a health inspection, unless they can provide a verifiable reason for not taking a coronavirus test.” This regulation is valid for the period 1–31 March 2021.
Bulletin issued by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland on 26 February 2021 (in Finnish)
Good progress is being made with vaccinations – deliveries of vaccines to increase in April
Good progress has been made with vaccinations in the Lapland Hospital District. At the moment, 10.7 percent of the population of the region have received their first dose of the vaccine. According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the deliveries of vaccines to Finland are distinctly on the rise.
According to THL’s delivery forecasts, a total of 1.4 million vaccine doses will have been delivered to Finland by the end of March. Over the next three months, from April to June, it is estimated that 3.5–5.5 million doses of the vaccine will have been received.
Possible exposures to the coronavirus
- Bar Ihku in Levi, Kittilä on Wednesday 24 February during the times 20:30–21:30
- Levi Hotel Spa in Levi, Kittilä on at breakfast on Saturday 27 February during the times 9–9:30
Number of positive coronavirus tests confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District by week
Week no. 7 (15–21 February): 52 cases
Week no. 8 (22–28 February): 41 cases
Week no. 9 (current week): 19 cases (as of 4 March at 12:00)
The total number of cases confirmed in the Lapland Hospital District on the basis of coronavirus tests conducted at testing stations is 649. This figure includes people who live outside the region.
Infection Control Unit
Länsi-Pohja Hospital District
(current information at 13:02)
The Länsi-Pohja Hospital District is still in the acceleration phase of the epidemic.
Epidemic situation is calming down – community transmission phase restrictions continue
During week no. 8 (22–28 February), a total of nine coronavirus infections were confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District. During the current week, the number of new cases to date is three.
The incidence rate based on the last two weeks is 25.1 per 100,000 inhabitants (3 March 2021).
The coronavirus situation is calming down in the area, but acceleration phase criteria are still met. Over the past few weeks, there have also been coronavirus patients in hospital care, and even intensive care measures have been employed.
Restrictions and recommendations will tighten during lockdown
The coronavirus situation in neighbouring regions remains serious. The proportion of coronavirus variants of all new confirmed cases is quickly increasing in Southern Finland. The risk of the rapid spreading and worsening of the epidemic is estimated to have become significantly greater throughout the country, which is the reason why Finland has just declared a state of emergency.
Because of this, the Regional Pandemic Working Group decided to continue imposing all existing restrictions and recommendations pertaining to the community transmission phase through to the end of the lockdown, i.e. through to 28 March 2021. All recommendations and restrictions currently applied in the Länsi-Pohja area are listed here and on the Hospital District website.
As an additional measure, the Regional Pandemic Working Group proposed a restriction on public gatherings and meetings with more than six (6) persons, in accordance with government recommendations. This six-person restriction is also recommended for applying to private events. This recommendation is valid through to 28 March 2021. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland will issue its decision the restrictions for gatherings this week.
Mass vaccinations delayed
At the moment, many of the municipalities in the Länsi-Pohja area have progressed to vaccinating those belonging to the risk groups. In some municipalities, vaccines are still being given to senior citizens over 80 years old who live at home. As vaccines produced by different manufacturers have different age limits, the vaccinations have not progressed in the municipalities according to age. Vaccines have been given out to different groups simultaneously.
Due to problems with the availability of vaccines, mass vaccinations will not commence in Länsi-Pohja during March. Municipalities inform about vaccinations on their websites.
Border control inspection changes during the period 1–31 March
On 1 March 2021, the order of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Lapland was put into force that states arrangements shall be made for conducting health checks on all people entering the country via the border crossing points in Tornio and Ylitornio. This order does not apply to freight transportation. Any person refusing to have the health check will be subjected to an individual assessment as to whether or not there are justifications for ordering this person to have a compulsory health check on behalf of the Regional State Administrative Agency and/or order the person refusing the check to be ordered into quarantine by the communicable diseases physician, as intended by the Communicable Diseases Act.
The health check conducted when crossing the national border can be bypassed and border crossing will be quicker, if the person crossing the border can themselves produce advance certification (employees working in the border regions should provide a so-called employer certification and a verifiable negative coronavirus test result that has been issued within a period of seven (7) days, a verifiable certificate that shows the individual has had the COVID-19 infection during the past six (6) months, or a negative coronavirus test result taken no more than 72 hours before entering the country) when crossing the border.
The Länsi-Pohja Regional Pandemic Working Group
Number of positive coronavirus tests confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District by week
Week no. 7 (15–21 February): 12 cases
Week no. 8 (22–28 March): 9 cases
Week no. 9 (current week): 3 cases (as of 4 March at 11:04)
The total number of cases confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District on the basis of coronavirus tests conducted at testing stations is 528.
Infection Control Unit