HUS remains in acceleration stage despite increase in number of Covid-19 cases

THE SHARE of positive coronavirus tests is on the increase in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS).

Markku Mäkijärvi, the chief medical officer at HUS, reminded in a press conference yesterday that the number of coronavirus cases has been increasing since the fairly calm summer, with the last couple of weeks alone yielding about 700–800 laboratory-confirmed infections.

“The percentage of positive samples has been rising in recent weeks. Almost three per cent of the samples are now positive,” he was quoted as saying by YLE.

The epidemic nevertheless remains in the acceleration stage in the capital region, as some of the criteria for the spreading stage have yet been met. Mäkijärvi pointed out that the number of patients in hospital care, for example, has yet to increase to the extent that it would place a significant burden on the local health care system.

Roughly two dozen people are currently in hospital care and half a dozen in intensive care with symptoms caused by the coronavirus, he revealed.

“We got 10 new hospital patients last weekend, and maybe that’s a warning sign that the epidemic is still making people sick,” he said. “The number of infections also isn’t growing daily and weekly at the pace required to meet the criteria for the spreading stage.”

Mäkijärvi estimated that some of the criteria for the stage are somewhat artificial and could warrant re-examination.

“Maybe there are some new criteria that should be adopted. I don’t see that it’d have a significant impact on the measures currently in place in Finland. We have the situation under control right now,” he was quoted as saying by the public broadcasting company.

He underlined that the effort to test people at a low threshold is progressing well. People in Uusimaa can currently get tested within a few hours, the sample can be analysed in roughly 10 hours and the results can be delivered relatively soon, with the entire process typically taking less than 24 hours.

People, he also stressed, should continue to get tested even if they are only experiencing the mildest of symptoms.

“Finland’s coronavirus situation is currently the best and the incidence [of the virus] the lowest in Europe. And the way to make sure it stays that way is to get tested proactively,” stated Mäkijärvi.

He additionally assured that the hospital district has the readiness to vaccinate people against the virus, if the vaccine can be administrated similarly to the influenza vaccine.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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