On Sunday, the hospital district issued new recommendations regarding, among other things, that institutions of higher education switch to distance learning for two weeks. In addition, it is important to remember to wear face masks and maintain adequate social distancing measures. It is best to remain at home, even if the symptoms are only minor.

The Ostrobothnian Regional Corona Coordination Group (Pohjanmaan alueellinen koronakoordinaatioryhmä) set up by Vaasa Hospital District met again on Sunday, 4 October after the worsening corona situation.

It has already been stated that Vaasa Hospital District has entered an accelerating phase of the epidemic. According to the group, it is also close to determining the stage of spread, as four of five criteria have already been met in the hospital district. However, there are currently no patients requiring hospitalisation in the region, which would be the fifth criterion. The COVID-19 situational picture and modelling group, set up by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, has divided the situation assessment of the epidemic into three phases: baseline, acceleration, and spread.

Currently, the total number of positive samples is 173. The two-week incidence rate per 100,000 people is 43.5 in the district and already more than 80 in Vaasa. The proportion of positive samples is already more than 2% and the daily growth rate of infections is more than 10%. In addition, the traceability of the transmission chains has deteriorated considerably over the past week and most of the transmission chains are no longer clear.

Infections were currently found to be spreading especially among young adults, most of whom are students. Many have only mild symptoms of infection, or are asymptomatic, and can spread the coronavirus unknowingly. The group therefore reminds individuals who have been at places where there has been a clear risk of exposure (for example, student events with already diagnosed coronavirus infections in previous weeks or other previously reported places of exposure) to apply for coronavirus testing, even if you only have mild respiratory symptoms, and to avoid close social contact.

 

New recommendations: secondary and higher educational institutions transfer to distance learning, internships for social and healthcare students suspended, and events to be organised using safe social distancing measures

 

The Corona Coordination Group made strong new recommendations on Sunday and continues to remind the public about the recommendations already in force:

– We wish to remind the public of the policy already in place: Residents of the Ostrobothnia region, from the age of about 15, are given a strong recommendation to wear a face mask whenever they are in public spaces outside the home. Large crowds should be avoided and efforts should be made to maintain a safe social distance of 1–2 metres from other people, says the Director of Vaasa Hospital District, Marina Kinnunen.

It is also hoped that the owners of shops and other public spaces, as well as service providers, will require their staff and customers to wear a face mask for occupational safety reasons. In addition, it must be ensured that safe distances of 1 to 2 metres are always observed.

Visitors to social welfare and healthcare services must wear a face mask throughout the hospital district. In particular, this is to protect the elderly and at-risk groups, even if safe distancing measures can be observed. During visits, the patient must remain in their own room and must not be in the common areas.

Vaasa upper secondary schools and other higher education institutions will switch to distance or part-time teaching for two weeks from Monday 5 October, so that adequate social distancing measures can be considered. Face masks must also be worn. The City of Vaasa will contact the schools regarding institute-specific arrangements during the period from Mon 5 October – Fri 16 October.

In Vaasa Hospital District, student internships at all social and healthcare outlets will be suspended for two weeks from 5 October. Institutions in the region should also not send students for internships outside the hospital district.

The group also outlined that major events should also not be held now if social distancing recommendations cannot be followed. Participation in large events should also be avoided if social distances of 1 to 2 metres cannot be observed.

In particular, gyms should be reminded to maintain adequate social distancing:

– As many coronavirus exposures during the epidemic have been detected in gyms, the gyms are advised to ensure that adequate social distancing of 1–2 metres is achieved, e.g. by limiting visitor access to the gym at peak times, reminds  Vaasa Hospital District’s infectious diseases chief physician, Juha Salonen.

The City of Vaasa’s healthcare sector has transferred staff to Coronavirus infection tracing in order to break the transmission chains and prevent the spread of the virus to the wider population.

It is recommended to always wear a face mask, and stay at home even if there are only mild respiratory symptoms

It is recommended that face masks (mouth-nose protectors) be kept with you at all times and that they are easily accessible, so that the mask can be used whenever necessary.

Primarily, every citizen is required to have their own face mask. The municipalities in the region have each organised their own practices for the distribution of face masks to the needy.

It is important that residents stay home even if any respiratory symptoms are only mild. If you have symptoms and feelings suggestive of coronavirus, make an assessment of the disease symptoms online at Omaolo.fi. If necessary, contact your health centre by phone during office hours or outside office hours at 116 117 to decide on the necessary follow-up. In the severe acceleration phase of a coronavirus epidemic, it is important not to wait for symptoms, but to act as described above, so that time for possible coronavirus testing can be arranged quickly.

 

Role and composition of the Ostrobothnian Regional Corona Coordination Group (Pohjanmaan alueellisen koronakoordinaatioryhmä)

 

The task of the group is to plan and implement measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in its region. The use of recommendations and restrictive measures requires a comprehensive assessment of the situation, after which decisions are made and weighed in terms of epidemiological, social and economic impacts, as well as in relation to fundamental rights.

The Ostrobothnian Regional Corona Coordination Group appointed by Vaasa Hospital District includes: VSHP Director, Marina Kinnunen, Chairperson, Chief Medical Officer Peter Nieminen, VSHP Infectious Diseases Chief Physician, Juha Salonen, Mayor of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry, Municipal Manager Gun Kapténs, Director of the Coastal Ostrobothnia Association of Municipalities for Social and Primary Healthcare (K5), Jarkko Pirttiperä, ELY Director, Timo Saari, THL Tuula Hannila-Handelberg and Tiina Hirvioja, and Senior Medical Officer at the Regional State Administrative Agencies, Miia Kaartinen. The secretary of the group is VSHP Päivi Berg.

10/7/2020 redaktion_toimitus