- 145 coronavirus cases confirmed, 27 in the hospital, nine in Umeå intensive care
- Officials clarify that virus was found in an Umeå nursing home
- Umeå Left Party submits bill to equalize salaries for women and men working with elderly
- Piteå Summer Games, in which almost 1000 Umeå young people participate, cancelled
- The Little Indian restaurant in Utopia closes permanently
- Pinchos and HSB bank to donate Easter meals to hospital intensive care staff
ÅLIDHEM – 145 people in Västerbotten total have been confirmed as infected with coronavirus, regional officials said today, with 27 now in the hospital and 11 in intensive care. Nine of the intensive care patients are at Umeå University Hospital, according to national statistics.
It was, indeed, in an Umeå nursing home that a case of coronavirus was found earlier this week, Västerbotten authorities clarified this afternoon. However, they did not say which nursing home exactly. Yesterday, they said infected patients and staff were present in three homes for the elderly in Västerbotten, but they did not say in which municipalities. It turns out that the other two are in Vindeln, some 60 miles upriver from Umeå, and Malå, further north.
As the virus increasingly affects Umeå, the city’s Left Party today submitted a motion to the municipal council requiring equal pay for male and female city workers, particularly nursing assistants in elderly care, among other professionals.
“In this corona pandemic crisis, personnel in critical jobs such as health care and elderly care employees have received applause and been lifted up as heroes,” Umeå Left Party group leader Ulrika Edman told Umeå Today. “Current wages for these groups are, however, in strong contradiction to this public and political acclaim, being some of the lowest paid in the country. This has to change,” she concluded.
“Statistics show that women-dominated occupations are generally worse paid than men-dominated ones,” said party equality committee member Gudrun Nordborg, who is expected to take a full-time seat as a parliamentarian later this year.
Local health officials have also put new rules into place about how health care workers transport patients to and from clinics, to try to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Only two patients may ride together in a regular-sized car, and four in larger transport. These regulations already went into force on Monday.
The Piteå Summer Games, a major international summer youth football festival, which is famous for its “midnight sun” matches, announced today that it is cancelled for 2020. Tournament Manager Anna Bogren Dalberg told Umeå Today that almost 1,000 young people and at least 50 teams from the Umeå area regularly play in the festival. “A lot of parents and siblings” also participate, she said, although “we do not track the exact number,” she added. The Games take place in the northern city of Piteå.
Games Chairperson Christer Norberg said that “for us, obviously, we feel dejection, mixed with acceptance for the pandemic now underway, and how it affects everyone’s daily lives.”
“Things will brighten,” he added, “and we will see you again in Piteå.”
One of Sweden’s most popular comedians, Babben Larsson, announced today that she was cancelling her 2020 performance in Umeå, scheduled for November 12. Babben, who performs in both Swedish and English, had an asteroid named after her by a Swedish astronomer, 10795 Babben. Her national tour was entitled “Här kommer Babben Larsson, tjolahopp” — “Here comes Babben Larsson, tjolahopp”. Tjolahopp is a nonsense word made famous as part of one of Pippi Longstocking’s catch phrases.
The manager of the Utopia shopping mall in the city center, Mona Liden, told Umeå Today this afternoon that The Little Indian, a restaurant with a popular branches in Ålidhems Centrum and at the university, has closed its Utopia location permanently. The Little Indian was one of a number of buffet restaurants in the mall’s Food Court, which is now also shut down. Liden said that the closings were due to hygiene concerns about buffets during the coronavirus pandemic. The Food Court will reopen “when the situation is stabilized, or if the restaurants find a new way to serve their food,” she said.
“The visitor base for lunches has drastically decreased,” she added. “A large part of the guests were among students from NTI Gymnasiet, who are now studying at home, by order of the authorities.”
Whilst restaurants have been hit hard by the crisis, supermarkets are reporting a huge increase in sales. ICA said today that last month’s sales were up 10.8 percent compared to March 2019. The supermarket chain explained the increase as due to “the effects of coronavirus”, and said that growth in sales was highest for dry goods, frozen food, dairy, cold cuts, fruits, and vegetables. Umeå Today reached out to ICA to find out what the increases were in Umeå supermarkets specifically, but the national chain said it does not publicize that information.
Finally, HSB bank and city center restaurant Pinchos said today they are teaming up to deliver Easter meals to the intensive care staff at Umeå University Hospital. Pinchos is a tenant of property management organization HSB Norr. Together, they plan to serve 360 meals total over the Easter weekend.
The operations head of the intensive care ward, Johan Thunberg, wrote, “We are so grateful. Just that spontaneously someone asks: How can we help? That makes things so much nicer for the ward. My talented employees ARE heroes, and together, we are strong.”
“I know that many have had canceled their Easter plans to help in the ward,” said Pinchos manager Peter Haghjoo. “That’s why it feels very good to be involved and help them have a good weekend.” Just two days ago, Umeå Today reported that Haghjoo had donated three months’ worth of meals to the Umeå Stadsmission, a charity supporting some of Umeå’s more disenfranchised residents.
Correction: an earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the Left Party equality committee member. The spelling is Gudrun Nordborg, not Gudrun Norberg.