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First New Coronavirus Death in a Week, But Health Care Situation is Now Stable in Umeå, Say Officials

Although Västerbotten reported a coronavirus death today, the number of patients in intensive care continues to drop, and the region is introducing mass testing.

ÅLIDHEM – Västerbotten officials announced today the first death due to coronavirus in the region since last Monday, while at the same time saying that the burden on the health care system is now “stable”. The number of patients in the hospital and in intensive care went down again today, as it has over the past few days, to 16 and four, respectively. The region has been planning for months now to have 50 intensive care beds available in case the pandemic requires this when it peaks in Umeå and the region. However, a large amount of statistical data now suggests that the virus has already reached and overcome at least its first peak, both in Umeå and in Sweden.

Officials did not release details about the new death, and they emphasized that the danger is not over from the coronavirus, saying that the epidemic can easily flare up again if people ignore social distancing guidelines. “We must all pull together and reduce the spread of infection,” urged Brita Winsa, Västerbotten’s director of health care services, at a press conference. “If we release our grip, and begin to live as usual, more people will become infected, may need intensive care, and die.” With the newly announced death, the tally in the county is now 18.

11 more people were confirmed to have the virus in the past day, bringing the regional total of known infections to 377. Västerbotten is now increasing both the amount and types of testing, primarily of patients, but also of health care personnel, the officials said. “We want to know how many people have been infected,” explained Anders Johansson, the region’s chief infection control physician. He announced that in addition to the traditional nasal swab, which can detect the presence of the virus, doctors will now be searching for antibodies in blood tests. This indicates whether a patient’s immune system has responded to the virus, and the test — possibly — shows whether that person can be reinfected. Scientists have not determined whether or not a person with the current coronavirus’ antibodies is immune to the disease, as is the case with some other viruses.

At the press conference, for the first time, officials gave details about Umeå coronavirus patients who have been discharged from the hospital. There are 49 in all, they said; 47 were sent home, one to a care facility, and the other patient’s location was undisclosed.

Psychologist to Umeå: Worry is natural now, and immigrants have a right to an interpreter for therapy.

A stress rehabilitation psychologist, Ingela Aronsson, also had a message for Umeå residents during today’s press conference. “It’s perfectly natural to be worried,” she said. “But, if your worry is causing you to be unable to concentrate on daily activities, there are things you can do.”

“Focus on what you can control,” she said. “Limit how often you take in news. Stick to everyday routines. Move. Focus on the present. Show consideration for others.”

Umeå Today asked Aronsson if she had a message for immigrants, international students and researchers, and others in the city whose loved ones were not nearby or who had the added challenge of not speaking Swedish. She pointed out that residents seeking professional psychological help have a right to an interpreter.

Doctors Without Borders put out a report in 2018 that said that asylum seekers, in particular, sometimes have obstacles accessing psychosocial care in Sweden.

Visfestival, a July music festival on Holmön, is cancelled this year.

The organizers of Visfestival, which each summer for 25 years has brought popular local musicians to the island of Holmön, have announced they were cancelling this year’s event due to the pandemic. It was planned to take place on July 30 and 31. Among the artists who were scheduled were the Brothers Norén, Emil Jensen, Natalie Carrion, Miss Elvis, Bengan Janson, and Willemark /Öberg/Knutsson.

About the option of creating a digital version of the festival, the organizers wrote that this would not make much sense given the festival’s mission to try to bring tourists to Holmön. “Instead, we encourage our loyal audience to support Holmön by — despite the circumstances — still visiting the island this summer, with sun, wind, and songs,” they said.

Väven’s new online performance series will broadcast poetry and spoken word live tomorrow night.

Care of Väven Live, a city project to give local artists an online platform for their work during the coronavirus crisis, is hosting its second event in a series tomorrow night. The event’s name is Rakt ur hjärtat (Straight from the Heart). From 7 to 8 o’clock, local poetry and spoken word performers Faiza Issa Aden Farah, Andra Anna, Juvva Pittja, and Fredrik Wågberg, among others, will take to the stage. Umeå hard rock band Katastrof will also make an appearance, and the emcee for the event will be popular Umeå actor and poetry performer Elin Hagelberg.

The event can be viewed on Väven Play.

Care of Väven Live performers. -Umeå Kommun

This year’s Västerbotten storytelling competition is now open to applications — in any language.

The 2020 version of Västerbotten’s storytelling competition, whose winner gets a scholarship and the chance to perform the story on-stage at a fall festival, is taking applications until Monday. The theme of this year’s competition is Villfarelser och missförstånd (Delusions and Misunderstandings). All Västerbotten residents can apply, by answering a series of questions about storytelling in general and what kind of story they would like to tell in particular.

Winners go through a series of workshops in August and September, and then perform their work on October 17 at the Storytelling Festival in Västerbottensteatern in Skellefteå. Stories do not originally have to be in Swedish, but the final performance will be.

Anna Sundström Lindmark, the 2019 storytelling competition winner. -Patrick Degerman


  1. […] Four more people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Västerbotten in the past 24 hours, regional officials said today, as their mass testing campaign continues. Two more are in the hospital, for a total of 11. The number in intensive care, and the full death toll, remain at four and 19, respectively. These statistics are consistent with the observation by various experts that the virus’ burden on Umeå’s health care system remains stable. […]

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