ÅLIDHEM – Umeå doctors said today that the coronavirus crisis has become “very serious” in the region, and introduced urgent guidelines for how Umeå residents should behave to prevent the immediate spread of the virus.
Stephan Stenmark, an infectious diseases specialist at Umeå University Hospital, said that “everyone is now required to act responsibly and follow the advice” of the Västerbotten County and national health officials. This follows a recent spike in the number of infected people discovered in Västerbotten, with by far the most in Umeå of any city or town in the region. Umeå has 848 cases; Skellefteå, Västerbotten’s second largest city, has 364. Over the past week, coronavirus patients have been appearing in the hospital again after two months of very few admissions. A week ago, the first coronavirus patient died in Västerbotten in over four months.
Västerbotten’s health care director, Brita Winsa, said, “We are, of course, very worried about the development we see. The spread of infection risks affecting the availability of health care. Now we all need to make an effort.”
The new guidelines for Umeå residents are as follows:
- Avoid socializing. Only meet with people with whom you live, or a select few others. Do not go to parties or social activities and limit physical contact at work. (Necessary close contact with people — such as medical examinations — is exempt from this guideline.)
- Avoid travel. Do not travel within or outside Västerbotten. If you must travel, avoid contact with people as much as possible, such as in public transit.
- Do not visit public places. This includes: shops, shopping malls, museums, libraries, swimming pools, and gyms. Keep your distance when you make any absolutely necessary visits, such as to grocery stores or pharmacies.
- Do not attend events and activities. This includes: meetings, concerts, performances, and sports training, matches, and competitions. Especially avoid indoor sports training and changing rooms. The sports rules do not apply to children under 15, or elite professional athletes.
- Businesses and employers should make it easier for workers to follow the above guidelines. This means limiting the number of visitors to the workplace, encouraging extended work from home, and postponing business trips, conferences, and physical meetings. Officials recommend that businesses adjust opening hours and offer digital options to compensate.
- Wash your hands often, keep your distance from other people besides those you live with, stay at home if you are ill, and test yourself if you have symptoms. The coronavirus self-testing center in Umeå is located in a parking lot between Ålidhem and the university, at Gösta Skoglunds väg 8. You are given a kit to test yourself in your car or at home, then drop the kit off at the testing center. You typically receive your results within two days.
It is now also illegal to hold a public gathering of more than 50 participants, regardless of location, reason, or protective measures taken. This includes gatherings in restaurants and other places food is served. However, regular dining in restaurants remains permitted. Officials recommend that diners do not sit with many people at a table, and maintain a distance from one another.
Today’s decisions apply until December 8. All the restrictions also now apply to Norrbotten and Kalmar Counties, except for the travel restriction, which does not apply to Kalmar.
Umeå University officials have said that they will send out specific information tomorrow about how the new coronavirus guidelines will affect work there.