Lasse Lehtonen, the head of diagnostics at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), posed for a photograph in Helsinki on 18 August 2020. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


THE HOSPITAL DISTRICT of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) has edged closer to meeting the criteria for being in the worst, spreading stage of the coronavirus outbreak, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Lasse Lehtonen, the head of diagnostic services at HUS, on Monday tweeted that the share of positive tests in the hospital district rose to 2.8 per cent last week.

An over two-per-cent share of positive tests is one of the criteria for a region being in the spreading stage of the coronavirus epidemic. The other criteria are an incidence of at least 18–50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a daily increase of at least 10 per cent in the number of infections, a surge in demand for hospital and intensive care, and a success rate of less than 50 per cent in tracing the infections to their source, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Two of the criteria are clearly met in HUS, Helsingin Sanomat wrote on Monday. The hospital district had an incidence of 80 coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks.

The daily increase in infections, on the other hand, has remained below the 10-per-cent mark, the share of patients in hospital care low relative to the total number of infections and the share of traceable infections high.

“As long as the chains are caught early enough and new chains of infection can be broken, it’s possible for us to coordinate the situation even if there was a slight up-tick in infections. That’s why it’s important that people continue to get tested,” said Asko Järvinen, the chief physician of infectious diseases at HUS.

“That’s how we can control the epidemic.”

Järvinen also confirmed that the share of positive tests has breached the two-per-cent mark but declined to confirm the percentage provided by Lehtonen. “The share of positive [samples] has indeed increased, and we’re over two per cent,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT