Health care staff at the post-operative ward of Jorvi Hospital in Espoo on 27 January 2020. A shortage of nursing staff is already affecting the operations of various hospital divisions in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)

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INTENSIVE CARE BEDS in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) have started filling up quickly due to a surge in the number of coronavirus infections, reports YLE.

Asko Järvinen, the chief physician of infectious diseases at HUS, revealed yesterday to the public broadcasting company that the number of coronavirus patients has almost doubled in hospitals in the district in a week.

A particular concern is the spread of the new, more contagious mutations of the virus – both to and within the borders of Finland.

Veli-Matti Ulander, the administrative chief physician at HUS, told YLE that the situation has already forced the hospital district to transfer patients to other parts of the country. Patients in intensive care with symptoms caused by the coronavirus have been transferred to, for example, Lahti, Kotka and Lappeenranta.

“That’s an attempt to try to spread out the burden placed by the coronavirus on HUS,” he said.

Järvinen added that patients have been transferred outside the district also in order to make sure other critical activities, such as organ transplants and demanding surgeries, can be carried out in spite of the additional burden placed by the epidemic.

He also revealed that the pressure to transfer patients stems primarily from a staff shortage, as coping with the rapid increase in coronavirus patients requires plenty of resources. The consequent shortage of nurses, he added, is already complicating the activities of several divisions.

“There’s a shortage of nurses in several divisions,” he stated to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT