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IKSU April 7

Virus Spreads to Nursing Homes; IKSU Announces Layoffs

• 135 infected in Västerbotten, with 25 in the hospital and nine in Umeå intensive care • Both staff and residents, of homes for the elderly, have coronavirus • Small businesses in Umeå can take out government loans to weather crisis • IKSU putting development, education, and some administration “on ice” • How do you politely ask someone, in Swedish, to keep their social distance?
  • 135 infected in Västerbotten, with 25 in the hospital and nine in Umeå intensive care
  • Both staff and residents, of homes for the elderly, have coronavirus
  • Small businesses in Umeå can take out government loans to weather crisis
  • IKSU putting development, education, and some administration “on ice”
  • How do you politely ask someone, in Swedish, to keep their social distance?

ÅLIDHEM – The coronavirus has infected five nursing homes in three different municipalities in Västerbotten, regional officials said this afternoon, as the total number of confirmed cases in the county rose today to 135, with 25 patients in the hospital. 11 are in intensive care, nine of which are in Umeå University Hospital, according to national statistics.

“One or a few persons” have coronavirus in these nursing homes for the elderly, said regional infectious diseases specialist Gunilla Persson. Some are staff, and some are residents. She said that “they are being cared for in isolation, in their rooms.” The elderly are considered by doctors to be one of the at-risk groups for serious complications due to coronavirus infections. Västerbotten officials did not say in which nursing homes exactly the virus has been found, or whether or not they are in Umeå.

Certain departments or clinics at Umeå University Hospital may have to close temporarily, officials also said, so that it can accommodate an expected rise in coronavirus patients. The hospital has now finished building a new intensive care unit and is ready to admit patients.

“It has been intense, fast work,” said Västerbotten health director Brita Winsa. “The personnel have labored incredibly well to achieve this.”

The hospital is still trying to find staff for its clincial coronavirus team, and is trying to recruit intensive-care trained personnel from all over Västerbotten to come and help in the new unit, Winsa added.

Regional officials at a press conference on coronavirus this afternoon. -Region Västerbotten

The region also gave details this afternoon about its plan announced on March 31 to give 25 million SEK to small businesses, to help them weather the crisis. Västerbotten Development Director Anna Pettersson explained that companies with up to nine employees could get a temporary financial support, at a maximum of 150,000 SEK. She said businesses could apply until the end of September.

Umeå sports complex IKSU is among the companies which today announced further financial difficulties due to the pandemic. IKSU said that it would be putting both temporary workers and permanent staff on short-term leave, starting April 20. Some temporary workers’ jobs will be entirely terminated.

IKSU CEO Margareta Lif told Umeå Today that the company’s resources will go “almost exclusively to keeping all three facilities open,” referring to the main ISKU Sport at the University, IKSU Plus near the arts campus, and IKSU Spa in Umedalen.

“First priority goes to staff working in customer and member services, as well as instructors for group fitness classes.”

There will be fewer times available to book physical therapy, skin treatments, and spa hours, she added.

Otherwise, “members will not notice a change in training opportunities or opening hours. Everything is available as usual, but we will not be able to offer the same high level of service,” she also added.

IKSU said that because of people canceling or freezing their membership cards, it expects at least a 30% loss in revenue, which amounts to some 2.5 million SEK per month. “We are putting all development, education, and some administration on ice,” Lif concluded.

During a visit to IKSU Sport at 5:15 PM today, pictured above, the complex was busy with patrons moving around its various facilities.

On April 1, IKSU announced it was cancelling its highest-level, often professional, sports activities (elitidrott), “with great sadness and pain”.

One Umeå business has reopened after closing earlier during the crisis. Qiao Trading, the East Asian grocery on Pedagoggränd in Ålidhem which advertises itself as Kina Butik, is now operating from noon to 10 PM. In mid-March, Kina Butik shut down without explanation, but a sign in the window saying, in Mandarin, “Please call me if you have any issue.”

The Kina Butik in Ålidhem has reopened during the crisis. -Umeå Today

Finally, Umebor — Umeå residents — are now engaging in excited dialogue about the question of how to politely indicate to others in the Swedish language that they should be keeping a distance, or not meeting up in person, to avoid the spread of infection. In a post on the Facebook group Umeå Tipsgrupp (“tips group”), presumable Umebor have suggested a number of phrases:

  • Det är mitt ansvar att tacka nej på grund av omständigheterna.” (“It is my responsibility to refuse, given the circumstances.”)
  • Jag bryr mig om dig och vill inte råka smitta ner dig om jag skulle bära på viruset så jag tycker att vi håller avstånd.” (“I care about you and don’t want to accidentally bring you down with me, if I have the virus, so I think we should keep a distance.”)
  • Det skulle inte kännas bra om jag/vi råkar smitta dig/Er så jag/vi måste tyvärr tacka nej. ” (“It would not feel good if I/we happened to infect you, so I/we unforunately have to decline.”)

Another user suggesting simply putting a sign on one’s stomach and back which says, “Var vänlig håll avstånd, jag vill inte drabba mig själv eller någon i min omgivning av Corona.” (“Please stay back, I don’t want to force coronavirus on myself or anyone in my vicinity.”)

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