Recommendations and restrictions in force in Vaasa Hospital District
Vaasa Hospital Districk is in an accelaration phase of the coronavirus epidemic from 23rd of March 2021.
Figures of municipality ratings by incidence will no longer be announced. This is based on a decision made by the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Group on 19 January 2021. The incidence rate will only be announced as one figure for the whole district. If there is a need for more accurate information, then the district will be defined in three parts: northern, inner and southern.
In this article, you will see the current recommendations and restrictions related to the coronavirus situation. Information on face mask recommendations, public events, public gatherings and instructions on applying for a corona test and instructions regarding leisure activities are included.
The responsibility for decision-making regarding restriction measures and recommendations lies with different authorities. For this reason, information follows the decisions, instructions, recommendations and restrictions of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) and municipalities.
The epidemiological situation in the area is monitored by the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Group, whose recommendations are also compiled here.
Face mask recommendation
- The recommendation to wear a face mask in all public areas remains until 30 April 2021, after which the situation will be reassessed.
- The recommendation is to always wear a face mask at public events and while in indoor public spaces, including school pupils from Grade 6 and above. Although this recommendation previously only applied to those from around the age of 15 and over, it now extends to everyone attending schools from the age of 12 and above. This recommendation is in line with the recommendation of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) relating to the spread of the corona epidemic.
- Owners of shops and other public spaces, as well as service providers, are encouraged to set a face mask recommendation for their employees and customers for reasons of occupational safety, and to ensure that safe social distancing of 2 metres is observed in all situations.
- For all visitors to social welfare and healthcare services throughout the hospital district, including cases where safety margins can already be met. Visitors must stay in the patient’s own room and must not be in the common areas.
- THL´s (Finnish institute for health and welfare) rekommendation on the use of face masks is currently in force in the whole country. The recommendation is divided into different levels of the corona epidemic.
- Nursing staff and other staff in social welfare and healthcare services must always wear a mouth-nose mask or a mouth-nose mask and visor, and not only a visor. This recommendation is valid from 29 January 2021 until 31 March 2021.
- See also “Recommendation for the elderly and risk groups tightened” regarding the recommendation on wearing face masks during visits.
Recommendation and restriction on public events and gatherings
The Regional State Adminstrative Agency:
- The Regional State Administrative Agency of Western and Inner Finland prohibits all indoor and outdoor public events and general meetings attended by more than 10 (ten) people in the municipalities of Vaasa Hospital District. However, public events and general meetings with max. 10 (ten) people may be held indoors and outdoors, provided that safety can be ensured in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Institute for Health and Welfare on 21 September 2020 (in Finnish). The order is valid from 1 April 2021 to 30 April 2021.
- Events can be organised with the permitted number of participants if they can be organised in a safe manner in accordance with social distancing rules and hygiene routines. However, the Regional State Administrative Agency strongly recommends that unnecessary close social contacts be continually avoided if possible.
Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Working Group:
- The Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Working Group recommends that private events for more than 10 people should not be arranged. The recommendation also applies to religious events for more than 10 people. For the time being, it is not recommended to organise such events, and even on smaller occasions, face masks should be worn unless social distancing rules are met. At events, special attention must be paid to the size of the space available so that social distancing measures can be maintained. The recommendation applies to all municipalities in the Vaasa Hospital District. This decision is valid from 23 rd March until 30 April, 2021.
The recommendation of the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Working Group is that distance teaching and face-to-face contact teaching at universities and within upper secondary education be decided on a municipal level, depending on the local situation.
- The Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Group would like to remind everyone that even children can contract the virus and pass it on without showing any symptoms or with only mild symptoms. As mass exposures have been reported in schools and daycare centres, the Group wants to emphasise that children with symptoms should not be taken to daycare centres and schools.
A corona test should be taken even with mild symptoms
A coronavirus test should always be taken if there is reason to suspect a coronavirus infection based on symptoms. Typical symptoms include a sudden onset of fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and loss of sense of smell and/or taste, in some cases including abdominal symptoms such as diarrhoea. A time is reserved for a corona test either through Omaolo.fi or by contacting your local health station. If your local health station is closed, for example on a weekend, you can call the non-emergency call number 116117. You should also ask for a test during the weekend.
Recommendation on social distancing
- Try to maintain an adequate safe social distance of 2 metres from other people. The recommendation applies to all contacts outside the family circle, both at work and in leisure time.
- A reminder, especially for gyms, is to ensure that adequate safe social distancing rules are observed.
Sports clubs and other free-time activities: Safe exercise with safe distances should be maintained.
Protection of the elderly and at-risk groups, strong recommendations
- Particular attention should be paid to the elderly and at-risk groups.
- Indoor visits to care homes for seniors must be carefully organised to take place in the resident’s own room and common areas should be avoided. Check the up-to-date instructions for municipalities and operating units.
- A strong appeal has been made to the region’s residents to protect older people and the sick from catching the virus. A face mask should be worn during any visit, - not just a visor. Relatives must ensure that a safe social distance of 2 metres is maintained. This strong recommendation remains in force from 29 January 2021.
Regarding remote work, Vaasa Hospital District follows the national recommendation and is recommended by the regional Corona Coordination Group to be extended until 30th April 2021.
The Government recommends that public sector employees work remotely as widely as possible if their duties allow. Similar extensive remote working is also recommended for private employers. The assessment of the coordination of local working and remote working takes place in the workplace. The guidelines and recommendations made by the Government on remote working are not legally binding on employers.
- For workplaces, it is recommended to stagger breaks and maintain safe social distancing, as well as to use face masks. However, it is the responsibility of employers to arrange safe working conditions. Work arrangements reduce close contacts with other risk factors in the workplace.
- When returning from a trip, we recommend minimising physical social interaction (voluntary quarantine), as well as teleworking whenever possible for 14 days. It is extremely important that you apply for a corona test for even the mildest of symptoms.
- Stay at home even with mild respiratory symptoms and follow the instructions given.
- It is recommended that seasonal workers from abroad remain in voluntary quarantine for 14 days after entering the country and before starting work. If the worker has not been tested on arrival at the airport, it is recommended that the worker be tested during voluntary quarantine, even if the worker is asymptomatic. Coronavirus testing is carried out by the municipality in whose jurisdiction the seasonal worker works. If a worker develops symptoms associated with a COVID-19 infection during voluntary quarantine, it is recommended that the worker be tested at that time as well. Even if the result of the virus test is negative, it is recommended that the employee continues to self-isolate until the end of the recommended period (14 days).
Recommendations for educational institutions
- See your municipality's recommendations, restrictions and decisions regarding the activities of educational institutions in the list of municipalities.
Recommendations for sports, leisure and cultural activities in Ostrobothnia
- The effects of the epidemic on the organisation of sports, cultural and leisure activities vary at different stages of the epidemic. The regional phase of the epidemic is assessed weekly in the Ostrobothnia Corona Coordination Group. This document highlights the national recommendations and refines them for the various stages on a regional level. (Material in Finnish or in Swedish).
- A strong recommendation has been made to ensure that all group leisure activities for adults (over 20-year-olds) taking place indoors be discontinued immediately from 29 January 2021. The recommendation is valid until 30 April 2021. In addition to this, assurances must be made to maintain a safe social distance of at least 2 metres in all activities. This strong recommendation also includes those who arrange private leisure activities. The situation will be reassessed before the end of the time period.
Travel recommendations and guidelines
Pay attention to your own safety, as well as the safety of your loved ones and others when travelling. The well-followed guidelines of Ostrobothnia are suitable throughout Finland; abroad, there may be considerably stricter regulations, even those sanctioned by the threat of a fine.
- When travelling: make sure you know the epidemic situation at your destination or country visiting, as well as the restrictions that apply there. Be prepared to follow new restrictions if they are stricter than the ones you already have. Please make sure you and those you meet are healthy. Do not go on a trip if you are sick; or don’t start a trip without a negative corona test result. If you are going abroad, make sure you have good travel insurance.
- While travelling: Remember the basic principles of protection; social distancing, wearing face masks and hand hygiene. Maintain a safe distance from groups and other risk situations. It is worth visiting shops outside peak hours. In restaurants, it is reasonable to remember to protect yourself in accordance with basic principles, and extremely serious safety considerations are recommended when visiting bars and nightclubs. Be sure to apply for a corona test at your destination even for mild symptoms, and make sure you get the proper test result. Remember to avoid social interaction while waiting for a test result.
- When returning from a trip: remember; you are a potential virus carrier and infectious. Of course, you will have reduced this risk by following the guidelines, but unfortunately the behaviour of others can destroy the result of your own good behaviour.
When returning to Ostrobothnia, it is therefore vital to remember to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask and practise good hand hygiene.
In all situations, when returning from a trip, we recommend minimising physical social interaction (voluntary quarantine), as well as teleworking whenever possible for 14 days. It is extremely important that you apply for a corona test for even the mildest of symptoms; the disease is very infectious, and you can be sick and infectious without even knowing it.
- It is advised to follow the recommendations given by THL when organising parties. According to these recommendations, social interaction should not be completely avoided, but safe alternative ways of social interaction should be created instead. If you want to get together, it is recommended to do so in groups of less than 6 people and possibly using remote connections.