Dozens of Helsinki hospital staff infected with coronavirus

Tests are now being carried out on all 800 staff members at Laakso Hospital, even if they're not currently showing any symptoms.

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File picture showing exterior of Laakso Hospital, Helsinki / Credit: City of Helsinki

Dozens of staff at one of the main Helsinki hospitals treating coronavirus patients have themselves tested positive for the virus.

Since mid-March 65 employees at the capital’s Laakso Hospital have been confirmed with Covid-19, with half of the infections detected in three specialist coronavirus wards.

All 800 staff at the hospital are being tested for the virus, even if they’re not showing any symptoms,  So far 500 have been tested.

“We are taking this extremely seriously. We have informed the staff of the infections and instructed them to get tested as soon as possible” says Medical Director Laura Pikkarainen.

“We want to emphasise that only employees who are well and have no symptoms should come to work. We verify the employees’ health at the start of each shift” she adds.

In addition to the staff, 14 patients in other wards at the hospital have also been infected with coronavirus. They have all been isolated, and everyone exposed to the virus has been quarantined.

Laakso Hospital says it has been following official guidelines on the use of protective equipment, and brought in expert staff to instruct employees how to use it effectively.

Employees at the hospital are wearing surgical face masks during all contacts with patients, including those with no coronavirus symptoms.

As a precaution, staff will now also use protective equipment when interacting with each other, and use a higher grade of protective equipment when treating coronavirus patients.