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NO POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS TESTS AMONG FIRST QUARANTINED: Hospital says symptoms resembling ‘a slight cold’ prompted action, urge locals not to overwhelm staff

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There are no positive tests for the coronavirus a day after the first local quarantine was announced in Svalbard, an official at Longyearbyen Hospital told Svalbardposten on Thursday morning.

Between one and five people were quarantined and the business they worked for halted commercial operations on Wednesday. The action occurred because of symptoms described as minor.

“This is talking about someone who has a slight cold and has been told to stay home,” Knut Selmer, the hospital’s infection control consultant, told the newspaper. “All responses we have received so far have been negative.”

The announcement was followed by several official announcements affecting Longyearbyen, including the cancellation of Solfestuka and much of the Norwegian Polar Institute’s activity, plus some frenzied buying of supplies by what appears to be a relatively few number of residents. Selmer said the problem for the hospital, the smallest in Norway, is it has limited staff and therefore cannot properly respond to an increasing number of inquiries that should be directed to nationwide contact numbers.

“People have to take responsibility for themselves and stay home if they feel ill,” he said. “The employer should be aware of that.”

“We do not have extra personnel who are at home and could possibly come if people get sick. It is therefore very important that we do not get any infections in the hospital.”

People are being urged to call the hospital at 7902 4200 instead of visiting in person if they suspect they have symptoms needing diagnosis. General questions, practical advice and official updates on restrictions are available through local entities including The Governor of Svalbard and the city of Longyearbyen’s website.

 

About Post Author

Mark Sabbatini

I'm a professional transient living on a tiny Norwegian island next door to the North Pole, where once a week (or thereabouts) I pollute our extreme and pristine environment with paper fishwrappers decorated with seemingly random letters that would cause a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters to die of humiliation. Such is the wisdom one acquires after more than 25 years in the world's second-least-respected occupation, much of it roaming the seven continents in search of jazz, unrecognizable street food and escorts I f****d with by insisting they give me the platonic tours of their cities promised in their ads. But it turns out this tiny group of islands known as Svalbard is my True Love and, generous contributions from you willing, I'll keep littering until they dig my body out when my climate-change-deformed apartment collapses or they exile my penniless ass because I'm not even worthy of washing your dirty dishes.
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