Wednesday 16 December 2020

The translated version of the coronavirus review for Lapland is published once a week. Koronaturvallinen Lappi is now on Facebook. We have once again commenced the Välitä (Care) campaign on a number of media platforms to remind people about coronavirus safety.

Lapland Hospital District

(current information at 12:23)

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 still in the baseline phase of the coronavirus.

In the Lapland Hospital District, the situation is calm

During this week, two (2) cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed. A total of 20 new cases were confirmed during the previous week (week no. 50, 7–13 December).

A total of 2,968 coronavirus tests were taken last week (7–13 December/week no. 50), of which 1,097 were rapid antigen tests. The number of rapid tests taken represented approximately 37 percent of all tests. The percentage of positive tests was 0.65%.

At the moment, the coronavirus situation is not reflected in the number of people in hospital care. During the autumn, only a few individual patients have received hospital care. Throughout the course of the epidemic, a total of eight (8) people in the Lapland Hospital District have died from the coronavirus.

The Lapland Hospital District is still on the base stage of the epidemic and the weekly number of new cases has remained around the same. The origin of the majority of cases (80%) is still known. A lot of testing is being done and the proportion of rapid antigen tests is large.

The incidence rate based on the last two weeks (week numbers 49 and 50, 30 November – 13 December) is 35.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The incidence rate based on last week (week no. 50, 7–13 December) is 17.1 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.

Concerns growing about the situation in Rovaniemi

The number of new cases where the origin is unknown has risen. Over the past three weeks (situation as of 14 December 2020), 10 new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Rovaniemi where the origin of these infections is not known. Although the incidence rates in the district are moderate, the number of positive tests nevertheless remains less than one (1) percent.

The percentage of cases with unidentified origins in Rovaniemi in relation to all cases confirmed over the past few weeks is 24.39%. This weekly figure has not risen, which means that Rovaniemi is still in the base level of the epidemic. The majority of infections still comes from people in quarantine or from people living outside the Lapland Hospital District.

The Infection Control Unit of the Lapland Hospital District would like to remind people that infections can be avoided by strictly adhering to all the safety instructions given. These include, e.g. ensuring good hand hygiene, i.e. frequent washing of the hands and the use of hand disinfectant, maintaining social distancing and the use of face masks in indoor public spaces, and on public transport where social distancing rules cannot be guaranteed. By working together to fight the virus, we can keep the Hospital District on the base level.

Serving of alcoholic beverages in throughout Lapland to be stopped at 10 p.m. from now on

The government has also passed a ruling to restrict the activities of restaurants and bars in Lapland. These restrictions are the same as those applied to areas currently experiencing the acceleration phase. From now on, the serving of alcohol is permitted from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Bars that mainly operate by serving alcoholic beverages can stay open until 11 p.m., and these bars can open their doors at midnight. Only half the permitted number of customers is allowed. Other restaurants can be open from 1 a.m. through to midnight with no more than 75% of the maximum permitted number of customers. Restrictions are the valid through to 28 February 2021.

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

30 November – 6 December (week no. 49): 22 cases

7–13 December (week no. 50): 20 cases

Week 51 (current week): 2 cases (as of 16 December at 12:23)

The total number of coronavirus cases verified by the Lapland Hospital District is 375, with 39 of these cases being with patients who were not local residents.

Infection Control Unit

***

Länsi-Pohja Hospital District

(current information at 14:22)

The coronavirus situation in the Länsi-Pohja area is still in the acceleration phase.

The epidemic situation is calming down – restrictions stay in place

Last week, five coronavirus infections were confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District. This week, four (4) new cases have been confirmed.

A total of 817 coronavirus tests were taken last week (7–13 December/week no. 50), of which 0.6 percent were positive.

The hospital has not been put under any excess pressure due to the numbers of coronavirus patients. During Christmastime, fewer resources are available due to holidays and other absences. In order to keep the number of cases at a low level, it is important to continue the recommended actions: Avoid all crowds and congestion, maintain safe distancing and use a face mask. Meet persons belonging to the risk groups and senior family members virtually or at a safe distance. It is also important to follow all safety instructions when doing Christmas shopping. Shopping trips to Oulu pose a much larger risk than shopping at local shops. The epidemic is in the spreading phase in Oulu.

Public gatherings to be avoided over the New Year – people are urged to spend Christmas with their own family only

The Regional Pandemic Working Group decided to keep the recommendation for public gatherings with over ten people in place up to 18 January 2021.

Although the epidemic situation in Länsi-Pohja appears to be calming down, there is still a risk that the situation could quickly take a turn for the worse. The coronavirus situation in the neighbouring areas is serious and there are still active chains of infection in the Länsi-Pohja area.  Christmas and New Year are risky times as far as concerns the risk of the spread of infection, as travelling and visiting people is more active.

It is recommended that you spend Christmas with you own family only. You can meet senior citizen relatives virtually or at a safe distance while wearing a face mask.

Coronavirus vaccinations are expected to start in the beginning of next year

Giving the coronavirus vaccination is currently being planned. The first persons to receive the coronavirus vaccination are people working in the social and health care service, followed by senior citizens and people belonging to the risk groups. These issues will become clarified as the plans progress. With people working in the social and health care service being vaccinated already in January, the intention is to vaccinate people in the risk groups in February.

With vaccinations being rolled out in the coming weeks and months, hopefully this will give people the willpower to continue following all recommendations and guidelines while preparing for Christmas.

The Regional Pandemic Working Group encourages people to make sure they get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D boosts the immune system. Studies show that there are links between vitamin D deficiency and serious lung infection caused by the coronavirus.

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

30 November – 6 December (week no. 49): 10 cases

7–13 December (week no. 50): 5 cases

Week 51 (current week): 4 cases (as of 16 December at 14.22)

The total number of cases confirmed in the Länsi-Pohja Hospital District on the basis of coronavirus tests conducted at testing stations is 325.

Infection Control Unit