NEW COVID CASES REMAIN HIGH, BUT NEW RULES AFFECT WEEKLY COUNT: 15 cases during past week down from 31 the previous week, but fewer people now need tests

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Photo of Andreas Eriksson at Longyearbyen’s self-test station courtesy of Longyearbyen Lokalstyre

A total of 15 positive cases were registered in Longyearbyen during the past week, bringing the total for the year to 87, according to the city’s weekly update released Monday. It notes no people have been hospitalized this year, but a relatively high number of new cases is likely at least in the short term.

The 15 positive tests were a sharp decline from the previous week when 31 positive tests were reported, but the city warned the results can’t be compared because of new rules enacted by Norway’s government that took effect during the past week.

“New national recommendations that fewer people should be tested with PCR tests mean that the number for week five cannot be compared with infection figures from previous weeks, because children and people with three vaccine doses no longer need to take PCR tests,” the update notes. “The infection control doctor encourages those who test positive with a self-test to contact the hospital.”

“The isolation time for a positive test is four days and you must be healthy and fever-free for at least 24 hours before leaving the isolation,” according to the update.

Andreas Eriksson, working at the self-test station in the parking lot at Longyear 78°, distributed 69 self-tests Sunday to people with respiratory symptoms and close contacts to the infected, according to the city. A total of 166 self-tests were distributed during the past week.

“Andreas says that the rate has increased significantly in the last few days and high numbers are expected in the next few days as well,” the city’s update notes.