Hospital in Helsinki.

Loads placed on hospitals on the rise - The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group considers it necessary to continue restrictions

The number of coronavirus infections is growing rapidly in the Metropolitan Area and there are now more infections than ever before during the epidemic. The coronavirus coordination group considers that the continuation of the restrictive measures in place in the region is necessary even after the beginning of January, due to the deteriorating epidemic situation and the increase in the loads placed on hospitals.

Positive COVID-19 tests account for more than 50 per cent of all tests being made, although test times may not have been available for all those displaying symptoms. The loads placed on hospitals has also risen significantly. HUS (the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa) had about 60 patients in the hospital during the Christmas week - now there are currently 110 patients. The number of patients in primary health care has also increased significantly in all municipalities.

The municipalities and HUS are preparing to reduce non-emergency activities so that resources can be focused on vaccinations, care for coronavirus patients, and other urgent and necessary care and nursing.

At the same time, the high rates of infection mean that more and more people of working age are forced away from work due to illness or exposure. Thus, the high levels of infection also pose a clear risk to safeguarding the critical functions of society when significant numbers of staff are absent at the same time. For example, the absence of care workers due to coronavirus infections and quarantines is a growing concern. It is, therefore, still necessary to reduce person-to-person contacts in order to control the incidence of the virus.

It is recommended that the current regional restrictive measures be extended for an additional two weeks

The coordination group recommends to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland to extend the premises restrictions pursuant to Section 58 g of the Communicable Diseases Act for two weeks after the current restrictions expire on 10 January.

It is recommended that restrictions continue to apply to the following premises:

  • indoor sports facilities
  • public saunas, spas, swimming halls
  • dance venues and facilities for choral singing, amateur theatre or other premises for similar group activities
  • amusement and theme parks, fairs (circuses) and indoor facilities of zoos
  • indoor playparks and similar premises
  • public facilities in shopping centres.

The group recommends that the new restrictions should not apply to guided recreational activities for those born in 2003 or later. In addition, the group recommends that the use of swimming pools could be permitted for holders of a special swimming card.

The current public event restrictions apply in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area until 17 January. It is recommended that the strict restrictions on indoor public events be extended for an additional two weeks thereafter. Therefore, the coordination croup recommends to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland to continue to prohibit indoor public events in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area for a limited period. Restrictions on the use of facilities (Section 58 d of the Communicable Diseases Act) should also be continued.