Quarantining an entire school class, especially raised, amazes physicians: “According to our legislation, quarantine is an appealable administrative decision at the individual level.”
Government the range of restrictive measures announced by the coroner’s ministerial working group on friday does not convince infectious disease experts. Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (Hus) Infectious Diseases Specialist, Chief Physician Asko Järvinen estimates that the government’s corona fist was mainly aimed at taking a position on matters that are in the decision-making power of the regions, not the government.
“As a citizen, I wonder if the government spends quite a bit of time thinking about things that are being done in the regions and for which there may be national policies. The government should consider the means that regional authorities do not have at their disposal and that require legislative measures, ”Järvinen said in a telephone interview with STT on Sunday.
Rather, he would have liked the government to comment on issues that come to the fore when the trace of infection stalls.
“For example, health insurance benefits and self-reported absences are issues on which local authorities are unable to comment.”
On Friday raised issues that are not in the government’s decision-making power, says the doctor responsible for infectious diseases in the city of Turku Jutta Peltoniemi. Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (sd) told the media that there was a state of mind that the entire school class could be quarantined if there was a single case of infection in the class.
“According to our legislation, quarantine is decided by the doctor in charge of infectious diseases and is an individual-level administrative decision. If such a mandatory quarantine order is made, there is national guidance. According to it, the doctor decides whether the criteria are met for the individual or not, ”Peltoniemi told STT over the phone.
Husin Järvinen also drew attention to the quarantine issue. It is “remarkably special” for him if the government goes to instruct the authority to take coercive measures, which makes the decision with official responsibility.
According to Järvinen, the quarantines of the schools are not effective and there is no possibility to use them because access to the test has been delayed and there is not enough capacity to trace the infection. Once quarantine is in place, the infections have already begun to emerge and spread.
Mixed Peltoniemi and Järvinen were signatories to the Infection Experts in an open letter, which advocated contact teaching in schools. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health had proposed to start the spring season of schools with distance learning due to the difficult corona situation.
Read more: Infection experts oppose proposal on distance learning: “Not only useless but also unreasonable”
“Experts are quite in agreement that school restrictions are not very effective. This does not mean that infections could not occur in schools, but it is a matter of proportioning to the known disadvantages, ”says Järvinen.
In schools, exposures are avoided, for example, by using masks, Peltoniemi says. In addition, other precautions are in place such as avoiding singing and favoring outdoor exercise.
In the end, the Coronation Ministerial Working Group did not issue a national recommendation on distance school. Instead, the working group’s means include directing the areas to all indoor closure decisions. This would also apply to hobbies for children and young people.
Peltoniemi does not believe that banning children’s hobbies would bring significant added value in preventing infections. Järvinen, for his part, points out that almost none of the regional experts or corona coordination groups have proposed banning children’s hobbies.
Schools and the health safety of educational institutions, according to the coronation ministerial working group, is to be improved by home testing, which is recommended to be done twice a week for primary and secondary school students. According to Peltoniemi, this sounds challenging.
“However, there are about half a million primary school students in Finland and another secondary level.”
According to Peltoniemi, home tests should be used, but when symptoms have already appeared.
“If a schoolboy develops symptoms now, he or she will not go to school, even if the symptoms are mild. In this situation, you should take a home test. We can clearly see that for a symptomatic child or adult, home tests work well. Even if the test is negative, it is worth renewing in a day or two. Even after a negative test, you only go to school when you are healthy. ”
People’s own behavior is the most important way to slow down the spread of the omicron, Peltoniemi reminds.
Testing for asymptomatic is a separate issue.
“It would require a lot of guidance. Not all tests work asymptomatic. The competence of the laboratory staff plays an important role in choosing the type of test. ”
Järvinen in turn, compares the proposed ongoing testing to schools to Denmark, where it is the practice. According to Järvinen, more infections are found through continuous testing, but it still does not seem to affect the progression of the epidemic or reduce the need for hospital treatment.
“Due to the rapid transmission of viruses, continuous testing is quite inefficient, quite a bit of an investment – and quite cumbersome and probably a hassle for those schoolchildren,” Järvinen estimates.
Peltoniemi emphasizes the importance of vaccinations. He would also have liked the government to confirm that message.
“THL has just released a report showing that the protection against serious disease against omicroniasis is good with two vaccinations and excellent with three. The importance of investing in vaccinations received little attention in Friday’s information. The focus should be that we aim to increase vaccination coverage, as vaccinations prevent a serious form of the disease. ”
According to Peltoniemi, vaccination coverage is rising well for third vaccinations, but progress is slow for the first and second vaccinations.
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