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HUS: Few children treated for Covid, infections in schools rare

The situation in Uusimaa schools is good and there is no need for remote learning, says a Children's Hospital physician.

Uusi Lastensairaala HUS:n Meilahden sairaala-alueella Helsingissä.
Helsinki's New Children’s Hospital Image: Seppo Samuli / Lehtikuva

There are still very few children who have fallen ill with Covid-19 in Finland’s largest healthcare district, the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district (HUS), doctors said on Monday. Those who have tested positive for coronavirus have had mild symptoms, they added.

Fewer than 10 children have been treated at HUS hospitals since the pandemic began last spring.

“Of more than 4,000 children aged 10–14 who were tested in October, only 73 had infections,” Professor Harri Saxén, a paediatrician and department head at the New Children’s Hospital, said at a HUS press conference on Monday.

So far in October, nearly 3,000 kids aged 5–9 have been tested, of whom 28 have had infections, along with 18 of nearly 2,000 children aged four and under.

Saxén recommends waiting a day or two before testing children, as there are now many other viruses circulating that cause respiratory symptoms, and because children do not generally become seriously ill.

No need for remote schooling at this point

Uusimaa, which includes the capital region, is the most populous region of the country. In its daycare centres and schools through the second year of high school, 7,649 children have been exposed, of whom 55 have become infected. Of 1,023 adults exposed at these facilities, a dozen have had infections. These figures do not however include data from secondary schools in Helsinki.

“In other words, out of thousands who have been exposed at schools, less than 60 children have become ill," Saxén said. He emphasised children’s right to in-person education.

“Fortunately the situation in schools remains good. There is no reason to switch to distance learning at this point,” he said, adding that “the situation is different in the Vaasa region” of western Finland, where the virus is spreading.

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