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Lapland battles Covid spike

Infection rates have slowed, but Finland's north is still experiencing the epidemic's acceleration phase.

Koronavirusnäyte otetaan nenän kautta.
Four new cases of corona were reported on Wednesday in Finland's Lapland region. Image: Raimo Torikka / Yle

Northern Finland is battling a spike in Covid cases that has seen more than a thousand people quarantined this autumn as contact tracers look to stop onward infections.

In the Länsi-Pohja hospital district, which comprises the six southwestern municipalities of Lapland, four new cases of the coronavirus were recorded on Wednesday.

According to healthcare officials, the epidemic situation in the region is still accelerating although the rate of new infections has slowed and started to decline in recent days.

“People in the area have taken previous recommendations seriously. For example, the use of masks has increased commendably in shops and other public places,” according to a release published on Wednesday.

The release also credited event organisers, sports clubs and companies for helping to curb the epidemic by adhering to coronavirus restrictions and cancelling events that would have involved gatherings of many people.

More than 1,000 people have been quarantined in the Länsi-Pohja hospital district since September after exposure to a confirmed coronavirus patient. While tracing of infection chains has been successful, the origin of every single infection in the district is not yet known. About half of the infections discovered during the past week have originated within quarantine.

Group gathering restrictions to continue

Since the beginning of September 79 corona cases have been diagnosed in Tornio, 19 in Kemi, 12 in Tervola, 8 in Ylitornio and 6 in Keminmaa. Simo has reported less than five cases.

Contact tracers have established that 645 people have been exposed to a confirmed coronavirus case in Tornio, 167 in Kemi, 73 in Keminmaa, 59 in Tervola and 53 in Ylitornio.

Although the number of infections is currently declining, the pandemic has not yet died down, according to healthcare officials. As such, there is still a strong recommendation that meetings of more than ten people not be held; this recommendation is valid throughout the Länsi-Pohja region until 2 December.

In other parts of Lapland, on Tuesday it was reported that the acceleration phase of the corona epidemic is over in Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. Nevertheless, the city is still recommending use of masks in public spaces where safe social distances cannot be maintained.

In addition to the Länsi-Pohja hospital district, the hospital districts of Helsinki and Uusimaa, Kanta-Häme, Pirkanmaa, Vaasa and Southwestern Finland, as well as the autonomous region of Åland, are all currently in the acceleration phase of the epidemic.

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