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Coronavirus outbreak among seasonal workers in Kainuu

A group of 74 berry pickers were tested for coronavirus on Monday, with 44 testing positive.

Puolukoita metsässä.
Many Finnish berry companies recruit workers from abroad to help with the picking of berry crops during summer and early autumn. Image: Petri Vironen / Yle

Health officials in the Kainuu region of eastern Finland have reported an outbreak of coronavirus infections among seasonal berry pickers working in the area.

A total of 74 workers -- all reported to have come into Finland from abroad for the berry picking season -- underwent 'rapid tests' on Monday, with 44 testing positive for the virus.

Kainuu hospital district's Pandemic Manager Tuomo Erola told Yle that the group will be tested again using the more established PCR test, which Erola said is the most reliable test for diagnosing the virus.

"The rapid test has been reliable, I don't think there will be a margin of error of more than ten percent," he said.

All of the infected berry pickers have been placed in isolation or quarantined, Erola added, but they may continue to work if their condition allows and provided there are no possible exposures with outside groups.

As yet, there have been no reports that anyone outside of the working group has been exposed to the infection chain.

The Kainuu hospital district added that the testing of the workers was carried out after agreement with the berry company, and that similar types of testing have been performed in several workplaces during the pandemic.

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