Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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area blocked off in university library

Infections Now 65; Sweeping Social Distancing Rules Enacted; Uni Library Closes Study Areas

• Government limits prescription medication purchases to prevent panic buying • Shops, sport teams, non-profits must strictly limit in-person contact • IKSU announces financial problems, cancels grants for highly competitive sports
  • Government limits prescription medication purchases to prevent panic buying
  • Shops, sport teams, non-profits must strictly limit in-person contact
  • IKSU announces financial problems, cancels grants for highly competitive sports

The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in Västerbotten has increased by eight, the largest rise in any 24 hour period, which leaves the total number now at 65. Additionally, there are 16 in hospital and six patients in intensive care, according to Västerbotten officials.

Doctors will now be restricted to prescribing medications only for up to three months, in an attempt to prevent hoarding among the public, the national government announced today.

“We can survive if people buy too much toilet paper,” said Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren, “but when you buy too much medicine, it can have serious consequences.”

Exceptions can be made, however, if the buyer is willing to bear extra costs. “If a patient can themselves pay, he or she can take out a year’s supply prescription for a medicine,” Hallengren said.

A source at Umeå University Hospital provided Umeå Today this morning with a document explaining how clinicians should specifically categorise patients who arrive with suspected coronavirus. The document divides the patients into four types: those with confirmed coronavirus, with symptoms but no confirmation, without symptoms but possible exposure, and with symptoms but a negative coronavirus test.

Covid-19 coding document from Umeå Hospital. -source

The document says that patients with symptoms and confirmed coronavirus infection would possibly be “coded” for isolation or quarantine, or for “other measures”.

Additionally, SVT has reported that yesterday night, the hospital decided to implement a digital check-in system, to prevent the spread of infection. The system is meant ensure that fewer people need to queue in the central hall, as people will be able to check in using their phones. Patients will also have the bill mailed to them, to reduce live in-person contact and time spent in the hospital.

The national government also released new health regulations this morning for venues such as shops, shopping malls, sports teams, and non-profit associations. Shops are required to limit the number of customers in a store at the same time, and mark where they should stand, at a safe distance from each other when lining up to purchase items. Sports associations must hold practices outdoors, postpone matches and competitions, and limit spectator numbers. Non-profits “should postpone annual meetings” that require participants to meet in the same physical place.

The recommendations also suggest that the number of passengers on public transport should be limited, and that to avoid congestion, bus companies should re-evaluate the number of trips on their routes.

The regulations also advise people to “keep your distance and take personal responsibility”, and remain at home if they have symptoms. Anyone over 70 should be especially careful, the rules say, and avoid public transportation completely, as well as places where people gather, such as pharmacies and grocery stores.

Umeå Airport is in imminent danger of cancellation of all its regular passenger services, Västerbotten officials said this afternoon. To prevent this, the county said it is going to “ensure traffic” with at least one departure in the morning and one return in the evening.

“Industries need to be able to rely upon rapid movement of critical components and key employees,” said Regional Councilor Rickard Carstedt. “Similarly, it must be made possible that health-related supplies or nursing staff can be transported.”

IKSU today made changes to its services as a result of financial implications of the coronavirus. Its Board of Directors announced that highest-level, often professional, sports (elitidrott) will have limited funding “for some time”, and grants for those highest-level sports that had been approved for 2020 will be suspended until further notice. This affects, in particular, volleyball and floorball, which rely on this funding to run.

IKSU said “It is with great sadness and pain that we see how the crisis affects the whole of sporting Sweden and also IKSU. Our responsibility at this moment, however, is to prioritize running a business that maintains IKSU in in the long term. We work to retain as many of our members as possible in the future.”

Meanwhile, the university library has closed its study sections — blocking off some of them — in addition to having limited its opening hours.

“We can’t have so many people in the library, so we’re open from ten to two weekdays, and you can’t study in the library. You can get a book or [use a computer to] search for something but you can’t sit down and study”, a librarian told Umeå Today.

Sign at the university library barring anyone from studying there. -Umeå Today

When asked how long these rules will be in place, the librarian replied, “nobody knows, but I guess we want to open before the fall.”

She also added that students can no longer make reservations for books, and that as a result, there will no longer be restrictions on for how long students can loan books, including textbooks, which normally must be returned within 14 days. All the new rules apply both to students and non-students.

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