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Central Ostrobothnia Covid cluster grows, incidence rate likely nation's worst

Coronavirus infections are now spreading rapidly among young people, especially in Kokkola and the nearby town of Kannus.

Fasaden av ingången till Mellersta österbottens centralsjukhus.
Central Ostrobothnia Central Hospital (file photo) Image: YLE/Ida-Maria Björkqvist

The coronavirus situation in Central Ostrobothnia, western Finland, continues to deteriorate, with over 1,000 people in quarantine and 21 new infections diagnosed on Sunday. Some of the cases in a cluster traced to Kokkola have been confirmed as the variant first identified in India.

Coronavirus infections are now spreading rapidly among young people, especially in the city of Kokkola and the nearby small town of Kannus.

Sunday's figure was a new daily record of infections in the region. In the last two weeks, 101 coronavirus infections have been reported in the Central Ostrobothnia Hospital District.

Cluster traced to May Day brunch at yacht club

Most of the infections are related to an extensive cluster traced to a May Day brunch at the Mustakari yacht club restaurant in Kokkola.

About 920 people are currently under official quarantine orders. In addition, several hundred people are in voluntary quarantine.

Some of the infections that originated from the cluster have been confirmed as the coronavirus variant first found in India.

The incidence rate in the Central Ostrobothnia hospital district has become one of the highest in the country, even though at the end of April the region had Finland's lowest.

The incidence rate for the area over the past two weeks is currently 130 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. THL reported on Saturday that Finland's highest incidence was in the Päijät-Häme district, which includes Lahti (114 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), and in Southwest Finland, including Turku.

Coronavirus infections are now spreading strongly among young people, especially in Kokkola and Kannus. The hospital district is strongly urging young people in the area to avoid gatherings.

Community spread phase may be declared

On Sunday, the Central Ostrobothnia Covid-19 authorities group was considering whether to declare that the region had shifted into the community spread phase. That would mean tightening restrictions.

On Friday, authorities indicated that the community spread phase was near, as the traceability of infection chains had dropped dramatically. Until a few days earlier, 80 percent of infections could be traced, but that has now fallen to just over half.

Health authorities will meet with education officials in Kannus about possible measures in schools.

At Central Ostrobothnia Central Hospital, planned surgical operations will be postponed and visits will only be allowed by prior arrangement.

The hospital district urges anyone with even mild symptoms to take a coronavirus test.

Soite's coronavirus website carries a list of possible exposure sites in recent weeks.

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