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Four Umeå University Employees Reportedly Test Positive for Coronavirus as City Activates Preparation Plan

- Case total rises to 13 in Västerbotten; four university staff members infected -Umeå city government activates preparation plan for predicted further spread of disease - Umeå hospital expert: restrict your social contact and stay 1.5 meters away from others
  • Case total rises to 13 in Västerbotten; four university staff members infected
  • Umeå city government activates preparation plan for predicted further spread of disease
  • Umeå hospital expert: restrict your social contact and stay 1.5 meters away from others

ÅLIDHEM – Västerbotten County announced today that two more patients have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total in Västerbotten to 13. As is true for all infected people in the county, the two new cases are believed to have acquired the virus during travels outside Sweden. They are currently isolated at home, officials say.

Four Umeå University employees are infected, Västerbottens-Kuriren reported this evening. Two were at a conference in London, and the other two were on holiday in northern Italy. University officials could not say whether these four were part of the 13 cases currently found in Västerbotten. In an interview with the paper, Deputy University Director Per Ragnarsson said that one of the four employees had been back working at the university “before falling ill”. The other three had reportedly not been to their workplace since showing symptoms.

Ragnarsson told the paper that “everyone’s goal is now to avoid spreading infection, and, of course, that the four employees recover.”

Over 100 people have now been tested for coronavirus in Västerbotten, according to SVT television.

Umeå’s city government has put into place a preparation plan in case the virus spreads further, as some doctors predict. According to Västerbottens-Kuriren, city officials have identified 17 services that are particularly important to maintain in case of a more major outbreak, including electricity, drinking water, and elderly care. The city is informing its employees that they may have to work overtime or cancel holidays, the newspaper says.

Employees and students who have recently visited coronavirus hotspots are reportedly now asked by the city to stay at home until March 22.

The newspaper has interviewed Fredrik Elgh, a virologist at Umeå University. His advice to the public is to limit social contact, keep 1.5 meters away from people, not shake hands, wash hands often, and to understand that “this will last for a long time”. Elgh also said that he is “absolutely convinced” that coronavirus will spread more generally across Västerbotten, and that it is “important to reduce the number of infected persons per unit of time … so that the healthcare system can handle it.”

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