5 patients in intensive care in Finland
Managing the coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish) epidemic is becoming more complicated for Finnish health authorities, who have to deal with an increasing number of infections and worsening health of some patients. And unfortunately, at least 5 of them seem to be having a really bad time.
According to the latest figures published on Friday by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL, in its Finnish acronym), until now "about 450 laboratory confirmed cases" of Covid-19 have been found. This figure, which is 50 more than the previous day, is based on laboratory-verified figures collected directly from the hospital districts.
On Thursday, Finnish authorities announced a change the counting system, which from now on will be based on the cases reported to the Register of Communicable Diseases. So far, this register has been notified a total of 409 of infections. THL admitted that with the new system reports may show "delays and regional variations."
Besides that, not all infections are known, since health authorities refuse to test people with mild symptoms. Only people with severe respiratory symptoms are being tested. The Government promised this week more money to increase test capacity, but still this does not mean all people feeling bad will be tested.
Of the reported cases 61% are men and 39% are women, says THL.
On Friday, the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health was involved in a controversy after it emerged in Finnish media that they had given specific instructions to hospitals not to reveal figures on patients in intensive care.
In a country that boasts transparency before the rest of the world, this decision was justified by Päivi Sillanaukee, Director General of the Ministry of Health, by arguing that they did so to protect the patients' privacy. But the media demanded information on the number of people affected, not any personal data.
The controversy may not have pleased the authorities in a country where the government is made up of five parties with different political sensitivities and where political discussion is not as heated as elsewhere. In the afternoon, Liisa-Maria Voipio-Pulkki, Strategy Director at the Ministry of Health, settled the problem by declaring at a press conference that so far there are 17 patients hospitalized and 5 of them are in intensive care.
According to THL, about 6,500 people have been tested. Samples are primarily taken from patients with severe respiratory symptoms or health and social care personnel.
So far, no deaths caused by coronavirus have been reported in Finland.
Situation in Europe
In the rest of Europe, the COVID-19 epidemic is widespread in Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland, and in other countries. A total of over 100,000 cases have been identified throughout the continent.
The vast majority of European cases have been diagnosed in Italy with over 41,000 people affected, according to the real-time map of the pandemic created by the John Hopkins University. National health systems are overloaded and many countries have closed their borders in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
The Nordic countries have also reported a high number of infections, totaling more than 4,800 cases.