Health service mobilising more resources to fight Covid-19

Answers from ministers and officials about resources, going to mökki and for people over 70.

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Minister of Family & Basic Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) at a Helsinki press conference 19th March 2020 / Credit: Lauri Heikkinen, VNK

Healthcare authorities are preparing to mobilise more resources to fight the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic in Finland, as the Government gives additional advice to older people about social distancing.

At a Thursday press conference, Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru said that residents will receive more information at their homes about Covid-19 by the beginning of April.

Kiuru said that in the capital region, Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District could likely need more resources to cope with the number of patients needing care, and as healthcare staff take absences to self-quarantine, and so the Government has options to mobilize private health resources, or borrow from other hospital districts to cover any shortfall on a temporary basis.

Finland’s coronavirus spread 

The Director of Health at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL Mika Salminen also spoke at the press conference, and said that Finland is slightly behind the curve of other Nordic countries in terms of the overall numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases and the number of patients needed specialist care.

Salminen confirmed there were ten or fewer coronavirus patients currently in intensive care, saying those cases could be counted on the fingers of two hands.

More advice for elderly, for going to cottage 

The Government has also been giving more advice for people aged 70 and over, who have been told to self-quarantine and have limited social interactions where possible.

Older people are at greater risk than young people for developing serious symtoms and requiring a hospital stay.

“As a guideline, persons over 70 years of age are required to stay away from close contact with other people wherever possible, ie in quarantine conditions” the Government says in a Thursday statement.

Elderly people are urged to avoid close contact and moving outside their homes as it increases the risk of infection. They can go to a shop, pharmacy or health centre but are told to try and make that excursion when there are few other customers, and to keep a meter away from other people.

When it comes to visiting summer cottages Health Ministry officials say that it’s up to individuals to assess whether their cottage is a safe place, but that it’s still important to avoid too much social contact.

“Every time you move from one place to another the risk of spreading the disease increases” says Health Minister Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left).