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Half of Swedish hospital staff test positive for Covid-19

Even health care staff without symptoms tested positive for Covid-19 at a hospital in Sweden.

Published: May 3, 2020, 8:29 am

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    Half of the 50 members of staff at a department at Linköping University hospital are infected although some of them showed no symptoms at all. The hospital decided to test all staff in the department since the hospital admitted patients with Covid-19.

    Karin Tegmark Wisell, head of department at the Public Health Agency, urged all to adhere to social distancing. “This underlines that it is not sufficient to just pay attention to symptoms, but that we need to practice social distancing as widely as possible, follow basic hygiene routines, and that it is very important to pay attention even to mild symptoms.”

    In Helsingborg, hospital manager Harald Roos admitted to broadcaster Sveriges Radio that the number of personnel infected with the virus in one department at the hospital was also a concern, but said the hospital was following guidelines to deal with the emergency.

    The ward was quickly closed down and patients had to be relocated to other areas of the facility as a precautionary measure after half the staff there tested positive for Covid-19.

    Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has meanwhile warned that the number of infected cases could be much higher due to a backlog in reporting. “On the whole, there is still very high pressure on intensive care in Sweden.”

    Swedish daily Aftonbladet reported that the Skåne region where Helsingborg is located will now be extending tests for medical personnel in the cities of Malmö and Lund. This will involve testing at the emergency hospitals in Kristianstad, Lund, Malmö and Ystad.

    “But it is not just emergency hospital staff, but it is the sampling of staff from all hospitals, but it is done at the five emergency hospitals,” said health official Håkan Miörner.

    At Skåne University Hospital, it is expected that testing of healthcare staff will start on Tuesday while Malmö and Lund already started and in Kristianstad and Ystad, the testing of health personnel began on Monday.

    But even if Region Skåne uses a new test method, they still need sampling kits. A new order has been placed but there is still a shortage of test kits, and priority is given to staff who have direct contact with patients.

    In recent times, Region Skåne alone has had approximately 700 more sick leave notices compared to the same period last year.

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