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10 deaths at Mehiläinen nursing home in Espoo

Two-thirds of Covid-19 deaths in Finland’s second-largest city have been at a single nursing home.

The Huvilaharju care home in northern Espoo. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

Yle has learned that 10 residents of an Espoo nursing home have died due to coronavirus infections.

The Huvilaharju facility is run by Mehiläinen, a private social and healthcare provider.

Espoo’s Deputy Mayor and Head of Social and Health Services, Juha Metso, confirmed to Yle that all corona-related nursing home fatalities in the city have taken place at Huvilaharju.

The Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland is looking into the home’s operations, says its social services inspector, Sari Husa.

The agency received a complaint about Huvilaharju on 5 April, the day that Yle reported on the first Covid-19 death there.

Metso said that Huvilaharju has followed the national guidelines on protective measures.

“There is no indication that operations there have been more careless than anywhere else,” he said.

Metso says that city officials first inspected the nursing home before Easter. At that point 11 corona infections had been diagnosed there. The most recent inspection was on Wednesday, and no shortcomings were found in protective measures.

He says that city officials have considered taking over the facility, but have decided there would be not benefit in doing so at this point.

Mehiläinen: No comment

Mehiläinen declined to comment to Yle about the situation at the nursing home.

So far 15 deaths in Espoo have been attributed to coronavirus complications, 10 at Huvilaharju and the rest at hospitals.

Metso says that there have been infections at four nursing homes in the city, but no known fatalities at the others. The State Administrative Agency is also looking into one other home in Espoo, where there was one confirmed case of Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Espoo, just west of Helsinki, is Finland’s second-largest city with a population of over 290,000.