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Heltti | 15.10.2021

Corona situation update

In this blog you will find the latest Corona updates and links to recommendations for further reading

National corona-related remote work recommendation ended on 15th of October – what does this actually mean?

Nationwide remote work recommendation comes to its end on October 15th, but local recommendations are still good to be followed. While many have been eagerly awaiting access to the office and seeing colleagues, the transition back to the new normal may not be quite painless for everyone.

Information for Heltti member

If returning to work causes you concern and uncertainty, don’t hesitate to bring this subject up to your supervisor and, if needed, contact your occupational health nurse.

Time for influenza vaccinations is also at hand. The annual influenza vaccination provides the best protection against seasonal influenza and its possible complications.

If you’re interested in taking the flu vaccination but have been exposed to corona or have recently had coronary heart disease you’ll find more information about this on the THL website (in Finnish). Heltti will start influenza vaccinations at Heltti clinics on 18th of October. More information about Heltti’s flu vaccinations and appointments in our previous member newsletter and on our info page.

Information for employer

Being mindful of the well-being and resilience of the employees when returning to work is very important.  It is typical that after a long period of strain and stress, when we are finally able to let out a sigh of relief, we actually end up feeling more tired than ever. Even just the fact that our routines are changed yet again might be stressful for some. That is why it is important to plan in advance how the transition back to the workplace or to a hybrid work model will be handled, and how additional support will be provided to employees.

Heltti provides Back to Work service for workplaces. The service allows you to efficiently evaluate how your work community is coping right now and what kind of support measures could be needed.

Guidelines from the Department of Occupational Healthcare to support safe return to work

  • Strong recommendation for two vaccines: The importance of two vaccines for protection against a serious form of the disease continues to be emphasized.
  • Good hand hygiene.
  • Don’t come to the office if feeling sick!
  • Organizing work environment in a new way: prioritizing distances, hygiene and good ventilation. After ensuring these steps are followed, should the use of respirators or face masks be considered.

You can find detailed instructions on the website of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, e.g. risk assessment, communication, hygiene and cleaning, teleworking and meetings and other events.

What’s next considering restrictions?

The reduction of restrictions began in the beginning fo October, this included e.g. easing on gathering restrictions, mask use recommendations, and restaurant opening hours. At the same time, a great importance of local guidelines was emphasized.

Corona numbers are on the rise again and the virus will not completely disappear in the near future. Thus, regional “bursts” of the virus are still to be expected. In addition to increasing vaccine coverage, efforts are being made to manage local outbreaks through local regulatory guidelines. Note, that there are still regional differences in mask recommendations, among other things.

Current information on corona related restrictions and other instructions

Corona passport

The coronavirus has caused repeated changes in guidelines during its approximately two-year history, and changes are still possible, even quite probable. The Finnish Parliament has approved the proposal on the nationwide use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate aka corona passport this Friday, October 15th.More information about the passport can be found e.g. here.

Corona events in a nutshell

Less than two years ago, alarming news began to emerge from Wuhan, China, regarding a new, easily contagious virus that causes serious forms of the disease, now known as Covid19, or coronavirus. The virus has since circulated around the world, in the form of several different virus mutants. According to official data, 147,297 people have been ill in Finland so far (corona test positive), and 1,100 people have passed away due to corona in Finland. Even though the corona control measures in Finland have been successful, the worldwide figures are sad to read: 219 million people ill and 4.55 million people died due to the virus.

When coronavirus hit, the world was on its knees in an instant. At the same time, unprecedented collaboration began among professionals in various fields of medicine. In late 2020, we saw gleams of hope as several coronavirus vaccines passed extensive safety tests and received marketing approvals from the authorities.

The availability of vaccines was initially an obstacle to large-scale vaccinations. To date, a total of 6.54 billion vaccines have been administered worldwide and 2.78 billion have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile an abundant amount of monitoring data on vaccines and their safety has been accumulated. Undisputed evidence suggests that two vaccines provide excellent protection against a serious disease requiring hospitalization. In Finland, three of the four hospital stays in September 2021 were unvaccinated.

Finland, like many other countries, has been “shut down” for several episodes during the pandemic. Our government has built the so-called hybrid strategy for lifting off restrictions. According to the strategy, restrictions will be lifted completely when 80% of people over the age of 12 have been fully vaccinated or at least have had access to both vaccines. The count stood at 73% of the population on Tuesday 12th of October.