THL: "Actual number of coronavirus infections may be 30 times higher"
Finnish government reported on Sunday 30 new cases of coronavirus (koronavirus, in Finnish) diagnosed throughout the country. The number was considerably lower than the cases found on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
However, Markku Tervahauta, general director of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said, “The number of coronavirus cases may be 20 to 30 times higher than what has been reported so far” in an interview with Yle Radio 1 on Sunday.
On Monday morning, a total of 241 confirmed coronavirus infections had been reported in Finland though not all suspected infections are tested anymore. Authorities recommend that people with mild symptoms do not go to the health centers.
Currently, severely ill, at-risk, social and healthcare workers are tested in Finland.
"Testing focuses on symptoms and the people who are in the risky group need to know if it is coronavirus" Tervahauta says.
Infection rates have been estimated using computer simulations. The simulations are based on information from other countries.
DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW THE INFECTION CHAINS
According to Tervahauda, it is also difficult to follow the chains of infection. Tervahauda said, “There are likely to be cases where these chains are no longer found. There are far more infections in the community than has been found by testing.”
Currently, hospitals have to prepare for the treatment of identified cases. For example, the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District HUS has set up coronary health centers. Non-urgent treatments will be canceled in order to have sufficient professionals for serious cases.
According to Tervahauta, a large proportion of Finns will suffer from coronavirus as a mild respiratory infection. If the symptoms are mild, the patient should remain at home. The treatment is the same as for ordinary flu.“The disease is treated symptomatically with rest and painkillers. Allow the body to recover from the virus. If more severe symptoms of fatigue or shortness of breath, people should seek medical treatment” Tervahauta said.