Covid group: Situation worsens in Pirkanmaa

The coordination group has called for tightened restrictions — or the use of Covid passes — at places like gyms, swimming halls, museums and events.

Finland's so-called Covid pass displayed on a smartphone. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

The Covid-19 incidence rate in the region of Pirkanmaa is now the third highest in Finland, according to Janne Laine, an infectious diseases specialist at Tampere University Hospital (TAYS).

Laine made the statement during a briefing by the Pirkanmaa coronavirus coordination group on Tuesday afternoon.

The group said that the coronavirus situation in the region of Pirkanmaa was the worst since the epidemic began, noting that 269 new cases were reported on Tuesday, by far the highest-ever daily reading.

Meanwhile, just over the past seven days the region has diagnosed nearly 1,300 new cases — out of a total of 14,676 since the epidemic began.

However the new omicron variant has not yet been observed in the region, while at least nine cases of omicron have been reported elsewhere in the country.

TAYS

The region's rising cases have started to affect staff at Tampere University Hospital, according to TAYS chief medical officer Juhani Sand.

As of Tuesday the hospital was treating 23 Covid patients, six of whom were in intensive care units.

"Due to the situation, TAYS will have to reduce emergency [surgical] care. Staff members are not simultaneously available for both emergency care and the growing number of coronavirus patients," Sand explained.

The coordination group also recommended that Covid passes — or epidemic-related restrictions — be implemented at gyms, swimming halls, events and museums in the region.

According to Finland's communicable disease law, such restrictions would involve mandating safe distancing measures and limiting crowd sizes to about two-thirds of normal capacities. However, venues and establishments that take Covid passes into use could circumvent such restrictions.