120 employees are in quarantine after 12 employees have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus at Hammerfest Hospital. The capacity of the hospital has been greatly reduced.
– As of now, 12 employees at Hammerfest Hospital have tested positive for covid-19. As many as 120 employees have been defined as close contacts and quarantined, says director Siri Tau Ursin at Finnmark Hospital in an update on Sunday.
She says the first cases of infection were detected on Thursday, and that even then it was realized that they needed help from outside.
According to the director, the entire “Health North family” has assisted with personnel and equipment so that key personnel have been replaced.
– Those who are left and run the hospital for us make an effort that is to be warm in the heart of, says the hospital director.
Even though key roles have been replaced, operations at the hospital have been sharply reduced as a result of the outbreak, medical director Harald Gunnar Sunde emphasizes.
– The children’s department works as before. Maternity will also still be able to give birth in Hammerfest, but they must contact the department before departure so that we are sure that we have capacity, he says.
The cancer ward is not affected either.
– For other departments, surgery, orthopedics, internal medicine and gynecology, patients are routed to other locations as far as possible. However, Hammerfest is still open for emergency inquiries and hospitalizations from people in the local municipalities, Hammerfest, Kvalsund and Målsøy.
He says patients from other places will be routed to Alta, Kirkenes or UNN in Tromsø depending on the situation around the individual patient.
Those who have an appointment at an outpatient clinic this week or the week after: Some will be informed that the appointment has been postponed, some will be notified that the appointment has been moved to another location. They will be called, says the department head.
Still runs infection tracking
Advisory infection control chief physician Anne Mette Asfeldt says that all patients who are now in the hospital and are discharged will be assessed on the basis of whether they are defined as close contacts or not.
– If they meet the criteria for close contact, they must complete the quarantine when they are out of the hospital, either at home or at any other health institution. We think we have pretty good control, she says.
She further says that everyone who is defined as close contacts is tested for the coronavirus to identify secondary infection as quickly as possible.
– Then we get to consider whether we need to make a new infection tracking ring, says Asfeldt.
She says they are waiting for another nine test results on Sunday. So-called “mass testing” has not yet been implemented.