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Death toll rises to 11 in Tampere care home outbreak

The local outbreak at the Tampere facility began at the beginning of December.

Rauhaniemen sairaalan Koivulan julkisivu
Rauhaniemi hospital in Tampere. Image: Marjut Suomi / Yle

A patient at Tampere's Rauhaniemi hospital for seniors died of Covid-19 over the weekend, bringing the hospital's virus-related death toll to 11 since a localised outbreak began at the facility last month.

Authorities reported that no new coronavirus infections were diagnosed at the hospital over the weekend.

News of the outbreak at the hospital first emerged in early December. At the time, Yle reported that staff had been ordered back to work before their exposure-related quarantines were completed.

Since the local outbreak began at the facility, a total of 110 coronavirus cases have been reported among staff (51) and patients (59).

Patients have been offered vaccinations, which began rolling out on Monday. Facility care staff began receiving vaccinations after the Christmas holiday.

The extensive duration of the outbreak at Rauhaniemi has surprised experts, according to the City of Tampere's deputy chief administrative officer, Lauri Seinelä.

"It is surprising that the epidemic has persisted among staff for such a long time. At the moment, protective measures are good and they are being implemented, hygiene measures are pretty much at full capacity, and cleaning efforts are also at peak. The mystery is why the situation has continued to last," Seinelä said.

The hospital's ventilation system was inspected but Seinelä said that air in the exhaust and intake vents was not mixed and the ventilation ducts themselves were not dirty.

"The air conditioning system works as well as it can using 1980s technology. The old building does not meet modern requirements," he explained.

Seinelä said that all hospital patients who have agreed to vaccinations have received them.

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