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Stora Enso partially suspends production in Oulu, testing over 1,000 workers

The forest products company shut down some paperboard production following a coronavirus outbreak at its Oulu mill.

Stora Enson Oulun tehtaiden portti.
Everyone employed at the Nuottasaari mill site in Oulu will be tested before the end of the week. Image: Timo Nykyri / Yle

Production at Stora Enso's Oulu paperboard mill has been partially suspended due to numerous coronavirus infections confirmed among employees at the site.

The company has not released information on the number of cases at the mill or the number of people who have been quarantined. According to the mill manager, Juha Mäkimattila, new cases of infection have identified every day for the past week.

There have been reports of infections related to operations at Stora Enso's Oulu mill since mid-November, but the company did not issue a comment on the matter until the beginning of this week.

Valmet employees also infected

At least 18 employees of the Valmet corporation, which is the main contractor for a new paperboard machine being installed at the site, have been infected.

A Valmet spokesperson told Yle that the company employs 138 people on-site, most of whom are subcontractors. Most of them have been tested for the coronavirus and the remainder are being tested on Thursday.

Stora Enso's Mäkimattila says that everyone employed at the Nuottasaari mill site will be tested before the end of the week. This is likely to be over one thousand individuals.

Mäkimattila did not comment on the source of the outbreak. He did say, however, that the situation at the mill is generally indicative of the spread of the coronavirus in Oulu and the fact that infections have been confirmed among both Finnish and foreign employees in the area.

Mäkimattila, added that he does not expect the situation to affect the start-up schedule of mill's new paperboard line which is targeted at the beginning of the new year.

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