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Coronavirus Spread Västerbotten Chart - March 14-20
Coronavirus Spread Västerbotten Chart - March 14-20

Doctors Lose Track of Local Coronavirus Spread as Umeå Hospital Pleads Health Care Workers for More Help

- Coronavirus officially in "community transmission" in Västerbotten, with 28 cases known - Ybuss, cultural institutions, IKEA restaurant stopping service - Vän i Umeå community aid organization offering online homework help
  • Coronavirus officially in “community transmission” in Västerbotten, with 28 cases known
  • Ybuss, cultural institutions, IKEA restaurant stopping service
  • Vän i Umeå community aid organization offering online homework help

ÅLIDHEM – Västerbotten County this afternoon officially declared coronavirus as being community transmitted — meaning that doctors do not know any more what the precise sources of infection have been for some new patients, making the spread of disease harder to understand. On Wednesday, when the total number of cases was 20, infectious diseases specialist Gunilla Persson first announced that Västerbotten suspected community transmission was beginning to occur. Today, she announced that there were 28 cases, with five in the hospital and one in intensive care.

The county has put out a general call for help. Kai Ronnhed, director of human resources for Västerbotten, called on “everyone trained or in training as assistive personnel, nurses, or doctors and who wants work” to declare their interest online. Among the facilities needing help is Umeå University Hospital. Officials there are trying to prepare for more coronavirus patients needing care by doubling the number of beds in the infectious diseases clinic. “At present”, the county announced, “there is no shortage of staff or beds, but a definite lack of equipment.”

The university said today that “more than 500” Umeå medicine and nursing students have already volunteered to sign up, with 460 placed in Västerbotten.

Västerbottens-Kuriren reported this afternoon that the university is now manufacturing its own hand sanitizer for use at the hospital. Chemistry Professor Fredrik Almqvist is quoted as saying that his department would deliver “a bit more” than 75 liters by the end of the day. The hospital said that on Tuesday it temporary ran out of hand sanitizer, but had been restocked since. The regulatory Swedish Chemicals Agency has said that “we do not recommend that people make their own hand sanitizer, but understand that people want to under these unusual circumstances.”

Meanwhile, Ybuss, which operates buses running from Umeå south to Stockholm and west to Sollefteå, has announced that starting Tuesday, it will completely stop all service through April 27, due to “reduced demand”. Yesterday, the national health authority called on all Swedish residents not to travel domestically unless necessary.

Bildmuseet, the art museum on the university design campus, announced today that it is closed effective immediately, and preliminarily until April 14. Deputy Director Brita Taljeedal said that “it is sad to have to close just before” the opening of a new exhibition, that of American artist Faith Ringgold, originally scheduled for April 3. Curator Anders Jansson said that the museum hopes it will be able to extend the exhibition after reopening. Bildmuseet said that while closed, it plans to offer digital lunch screenings and other social media activities.

SVT reported this afternoon that the Folkets Hus cultural center is laying off all of its 62 employees starting on Monday. “Almost all events and conferences have been cancelled,” CEO Håkan Bäckström told SVT. “Our restaurant, TC, only sold 900 SEK of food and drink to one customer last night. It’s a serious crisis.”

Humlan, the cultural association at Klossen in Ålidhem, also said today it was cancelling its new two-day Ditt Kvarter music and culture festival, which had been planned for May. “We are looking forward to inviting you to Ditt Kvarter as soon as things feel safe and secure,” Humlan said.

IKEA announced this morning that it has closed its restaurant. “Hungry guests”, IKEA wrote, “are welcome instead to our Bistro or Swedish Food Market.” Earlier this week IKEA also closed its SMÅLAND children’s play facility for health reasons.

Vän i Umeå, a community volunteer aid organization, announced in its Facebook group today that it is taking applications for people who want to provide online homework help to Umeå’s schoolchildren and adults in secondary education. All city secondary schools stopped physical teaching earlier this week. The Vän i Umeå program’s goal is to match tutors and students “digitally, so you can help each other without being infected by coronavirus.”

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