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Capital area Covid testing at record levels

One unidentified individual has taken 30 coronavirus tests over the past year, according to HUS.

Koronavirustesti Helsingin Messukeskuksen drive-in-testauspisteellä joulukuussa 2020.
There has been a clear increase in coronavirus tests after the conclusion of recent school winter holidays. Picture taken in Helsinki in December. Image: Mikko Ahmajärvi / Yle
Yle News

Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District's (HUS) laboratory HUSLAB recorded its highest level of Covid tests on Thursday, with more than 11,000 samples tested.

"We have been delightfully active. Around Christmas time, we were processing only 4,000 to 5,000 tests daily," said Asko Järvinen, HUS' chief infectious diseases physician.

The current unofficial record held by an unidentified person is currently 30 Covid-19 tests over the past year. The district's statistics showed that there were more than 650 Finns who have been tested more than ten times.

A similar trend was also observed at Finland's largest laboratory firm, Fimlab, which tests and analyses samples in the regions of Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Kanta-Häme, Ostrobothnia and Päijät-Häme.

The lab noted a clear increase in coronavirus tests after the conclusion of recent school winter holidays, with up to 2,000 Covid samples analysed daily in the Pirkanmaa region.

Several reasons

According to Anu Mustila, Fimlab's Service Director, the main reason people have sought tests was due to an increase in infections. People want to protect their loved ones and to know whether they need to quarantine.

"In our view, people have been very active in terms of getting tested, especially now that the number of infections has clearly increased," Mustila said.

Meanwhile, HUS' Järvinen said he hopes another reason for the increase in tests was a general realisation about how easy it is to get tested, and drive-in tests making the process even easier.

"You can book the test time yourself, and you will get a response quickly on your phone. The process has been made to be as easy as possible," he said.

A possible third reason for the increase in testing that asymptomatic individuals who have been exposed to the virus are also being tested now.

"Those who have been exposed to the British virus variant but are asymptomatic have been tested twice, which is reflected in the numbers," Järvinen noted.

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