Officers at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) are already discussing whether the surge in coronavirus infections forces them to ramp down non-urgent surgeries, reports YLE. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)

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OFFICIALS at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) are preparing for the possibility that restrictions have to be re-adopted if the re-opening of society continues to increase the strain on the health care system, reports YLE.

A total of 51 patients were in hospital care, including 14 in intensive care, with the coronavirus disease in what is the most populous hospital district in Finland on Friday.

“We’re very close to the limit of our capacity, meaning the point where the treatment of other patients starts slowing down significantly. Discussions about raising preparedness and ramping up non-urgent surgeries are ongoing,” Markku Mäkijärvi, the acting chief executive at HUS, stated to YLE on Friday.

The coronavirus coordination group for the capital region have estimated that the capacity will be at risk if the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care exceeds 15 or the number of patients in hospital care exceeds 50. Restrictions on restaurants, it underlined, should be stepped up across the region in such circumstances.

“The group will additionally propose appropriately targeted restrictions on gatherings and public events to the Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI),” said Jari Petäjä, the acting chief medical officer at HUS.

Restrictions on restaurants were effectively relaxed last weekend, as the adoption of the coronavirus pass enabled facilities such as nightclubs to sidestep the restrictions by making sure all customers are in possession of the pass.

Also the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has cautioned that there is a heightened risk that the epidemic places an overwhelming burden on the intensive care capacity in Finland.

“We’ve already had to make patient transfers. We’re now concerned about how our capacity will hold up,” Pasi Pohjola, a director at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, stated on YLE TV1 on Friday.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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