ICU feels tension as Covid patients move from Helsinki to other areas

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Asko Järvinen, head of infectious diseases at HUS, says the number of Covid patients in HUS hospitals has doubled in a week.

Image: Lotta Laakso / Yle

Helsinki hospitals are starting to feel pressure from the increased need for intensive care beds, as the number of Covid-19 cases rises in the capital region.

According to Asko Järvinen, Chief Infectious Disease Physician of the Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS), the number of Covid patients in HUS hospitals has doubled in one week.

New variants detected in Finland have raised concerns about the course of the epidemic, and the chief administrative doctor of HUS Veli-Matti Ulander said the patients have already been transferred to other parts of the country.

Lahti, Kotka and Lappeenranta received intensive care patients from the capital region.

“We are doing this to ease the burden that Covid has placed on the HUS,” Ulander said.

Järvinen added that the patients had been transferred to ensure that HUS can continue to offer intensive care, including transplant surgery, despite the increased burden from Covid.

ICU bed numbers may be increased

HUS chief medical officer Markku Mäkijärvi told Yle on Sunday that HUS had updated its plans to deal with Covid due to the increase in the number of cases.

He said intensive care spaces could be added in the HUS region if the situation deteriorated and patients would be transferred if necessary.

Järvinen said the pressure to move patients was mainly due to a shortage of staff. Järvinen said the increase in patient numbers takes resources elsewhere in the hospital, with an insufficient number of nurses a particular concern.

“There is a shortage of nurses in several departments,” Järvinen said.

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