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Umeå Coronavirus Burden Diminishing, Officials Say, but Two New Deaths Are Reported

The number of seriously ill coronavirus patients is overall decreasing in Västerbotten, but two new deaths were also announced today.

ÅLIDHEM – Västerbotten officials this morning painted a cautiously positive picture of the coronavirus pandemic in the region, saying that overall, the number of seriously sick people has been declining, while also reporting two more deaths due to the virus — the first day with multiple deaths since over a month ago.

“We see a downward trend of fewer and fewer coronavirus patients in the hospital,” said infectious diseases specialist Gunilla Persson, referring to their overall constantly reducing number since April 10, when it peaked at 29. Currently, there are 12 hospitalized coronavirus patients, a number which has increased by three since Monday.

Source: Region Västerbotten

Persson emphasized, however, that the declining trend may unwantedly turn around. “We do not know what lies before us,” she said. “If we are lucky and do not have a peak in the coming weeks, we must still continue to follow guidelines to avoid the spread of infection.”

Indeed, despite the positive evaluation of the burden on the health care system, Västerbotten County announced two new coronavirus deaths today, countering the course of increasingly fewer deaths that began in mid-to-late April. From April 17 until yesterday, only single-death days have occurred, and with decreasing frequency.

The red line represents the average number of deaths per week. Source: Region Västerbotten
Source: Folkhälsomyndigheten

Mass testing has revealed the infection’s presence in 12 nursing homes in the region, and that health care personnel are particularly likely to test positive.

Since Västerbotten officials have begun their mass testing program, coronavirus has been found in 12 nursing homes, for a total of 25 cases. In seven of the homes, Persson said, no new cases were found after the first infections and the spread has completely stopped. In the five other homes, testing of residents and staff continues. The region did not say whether the 25 cases were residents or personnel, but it did say that of the 438 total confirmed coronavirus cases in Västerbotten, some 40 percent are health care professionals in clinics and nursing homes.

Statistics clearly show that in the region, it is the elderly that have borne the brunt of the coronavirus’ capacity to kill people. As of Monday, two-thirds of deaths were in patients above the age of 70, and no one under 50 in Västerbotten has died from the coronavirus. Seven of the dead were in nursing homes, Persson said. The toll on Västerbotten’s elderly is consistent with a national trend, whereby the vast majority of coronavirus deaths in Sweden have been of people over the age of 70.

The region said today that by June, it will decide which health care workers can take a summer holiday.

Progress was made this morning on the deadlocked dispute between the local medical professionals’ union and Västerbotten health officials. The region announced that in June, it will propose who can take a holiday during the usual summer period, and who would have to wait until September to do so. Just two days ago, some 20 health care workers marched from the city center to Umeå University Hospital, demanding a resolution to the standstill in negotiations, at which point the region was still saying that workers would only be able to take holidays in September.

“It has been a difficult process,” said Västerbotten’s director of health services, Brita Winsa. “There are more and more factors than usual to take into account, and a great amount of uncertainty as to how the pandemic will develop.”

“We want to give our employees a holiday during the summer as much as possible,” she added, “but we also must ensure enough people are working, which means that some employees will get holidays in September.”

Winsa also said that some health care services will be reduced this summer in order to keep intensive care beds open, should there be a new wave of coronavirus cases. Certain local health clinics will close, and all will decrease their workload.

A man has been arrested for suspected arson in the burning of an apartment last night in Ersboda.

Police this morning said they arrested a suspect for arson, after a fire broke out in a flat on Spänngrand in Ersboda last night. The man is 35 years old, they said, and did not live in the apartment. They arrested him in another location. He is due to be arraigned in court on Saturday at noon.

Police said they considered the event to be isolated and not connected to the wave of arson that has hit Umeå in the past few months.

Several people in the apartment managed to get out, police said, and none was seriously injured. It took firefighters about a half-hour to extinguish the blaze. During the day today, investigators performed a technical examination of the apartment and searched the area with police dogs.

Norrlandsoperan’s opera and program manager, actor and mezzosoprano Malin Gjörup, has died suddenly at age 56.

Norrlandsoperan announced today that one of its artistic directors, Malin Gjörup, responsible for the opera and symphony orchestra, has died after a rapid illness. The cause and date of death were not given.

Born Eva Malin Maria Gjörup, she assumed the job of opera and program manager in April of last year. Before that, she was a producer for the Gävle Symphony Orchestra. She studied at the Malmö Academy of Music and sang at Stockholm Folkoperan, the Gothenburg City Theater, and the nationally-touring Riksteatern. She went on to be an agent at Sollentuna’s Swedish Concert Bureau, a classical music artist management agency.

Malin Gjörup. -Norrlandsoperan

Gjörup’s father is prominent Danish-Swedish architect Henning Peter Gjørup. Her mother, Luleå-born Fanny Louise Gjörup, was a star in 1970s children’s TV program Den vita stenen. In a 2001 car accident in Luleå, Fanny Gjörup died along with her mother, husband, and his two children.

Malin Gjörup was 56 years old.

Umeå is asking cyclists to give their opinions about bicycling in the city, and has put out videos clarifying that bikes get priority over cars at road crossings.

The City of Umeå this afternoon announced its participation in the “Velometer” web survey, in which cyclists can give their perspective on what it is like to bike in various cities in Sweden. The last time the Velometer survey was given, Malmö ranked as the municipality with the most satisfied cyclists; Umeå came in fourth. The goal is to encourage towns and cities to improve conditions for bicycling.

Umeå has also released two videos called Bilar stannar, cyklar cyklar (Cars stop, bicycles cycle) about cyclists’ priority over cars at bicycle crossings. The message is that motorists have to be careful to judge the safety of cyclists at crossings, where bicycles get priority. “Show consideration for each other in traffic,” the City writes. “Good interaction is based on eye contact. Follow the traffic rules, and watch your speed.”

The City says its goal is that 65 percent of all trips within Umeå will be carried out using an environmentally sustainable mode of transit by 2025.

As the coronavirus crisis becomes less acute in Umeå, Umeå Today’s mission ends today, with this, Umeå Today’s final article for the spring. However, Umeå Today is considering re-forming this summer, as Umeå Today 2.0. Watch the video below for more details, and join the project as a member of the 2.0 Development Team.


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