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3 Covid-related deaths at one of Helsinki's largest nursing homes

The first infection was diagnosed on 1 October, with a total of five cases being confirmed at the privately-run facility.

Tilkan sairaala.
Tilkka Hospital in Helsinki, where Esperi Care's nursing home is located. Image: Janne Järvinen / Yle

Three residents have died of coronavirus-related illness this month at one of Helsinki's largest nursing homes, the Tilkka care centre, according to information obtained by Yle.

The City of Helsinki's operations evaluation manager, Tuulikki Siltari, confirmed that coronavirus infections had been confirmed at the privately-run nursing home.

The first Covid infection at the facility was diagnosed on 1 October, with a total of five cases being confirmed, three of whom died as a result of the infection, according to Siltari.

Two different units at the facility had infection cases, with a total of 20 other potentially-exposed residents. Five workers at the nursing home also tested positive for Covid-19.

Siltari said the infection chain at the facility was started by an asymptomatic worker, and that the nursing home had taken precautionary measures to protect other residents.

"This is not negligence at all, but bad luck," she said.

The facility, which is located in an historic building in the Pikku-Huopalahti neighbourhood, is run by the private care firm Esperi. It has a capacity of about 100 residents and is one of the city's largest nursing homes.

No new cases in past week

Siltari said that infections were brought under control and that no new infections had been diagnosed over the past week.

"We learned quite a lot during the spring, it's quite impressive. Hand hygiene is being taken care of, protective gear is being used correctly, as is safe distancing," Siltari said.

The city's deputy director of care services, Maarit Rautio, said there were currently no infections in Helsinki's city-run care homes.

Earlier in the autumn there infections were diagnosed at senior facilities in the Kontula and Kustaankartano districts, but the infections were contained and there were no fatalities.

"One infection was diagnosed in Kustaankartano and there were nine in Kontula," Rautio said.

Last spring, there were ten coronavirus-related deaths at the senior centre in Kontula, she said, adding that unlike in the spring, care facilities now have adequate access to protective equipment like face masks.

"The situation is very calm at the moment. Safeguards are currently enabling [facilities] to maintain relatively normal operations," Rautio said.

She said the city has not yet tightened rules regarding nursing home visits, but that such measures are reviewed on a weekly basis.

"It's important for [visiting] relatives to use protective equipment," Rautio noted.

On Monday, several coronavirus infections were confirmed in residents and staff at a nursing home in western Finland's city of Vaasa.

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