New Stockholm field hospital to open its doors to coronavirus patients

New Stockholm field hospital to open its doors to coronavirus patients
Ambulances pictured during preparations at the new hospital in Älvsjö. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
An army field hospital set up at the Älvsjö conference centre in Stockholm is expected to open its doors to patients today, reports Swedish news agency TT.

A total of 251 people have died in Stockholm after testing positive from the coronavirus, according to the region's update on Sunday evening, an increase of 26 new confirmed deaths.

Meanwhile, 168 patients are being treated in intensive care at the region's hospitals.

Stockholm has managed to more than triple its intensive care capacity in recent days, and on Sunday morning around 70 beds were unoccupied in intensive care, said healthcare director Björn Eriksson.

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“We are seeing an increased demand for healthcare, as a result of the epidemic. We will therefore keep increasing our capacity, to continue to be one step ahead,” he said.


Stockholm healthcare director Björn Eriksson at the new field hospital at Älvsjö. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

In addition, 732 coronavirus patients were being treated in hospital on Sunday.

That's 168 people more than on Saturday, and the increase is due to a change in reporting the number of patients, which means that patients in geriatric care are now also included in the total figures.

The increase is not currently exponential, said Eriksson.

“We can see a fairly straight line, in the last few days the need for healthcare has increased at the same pace every day,” TT quoted him as saying.

Around 12,100 people have been tested for the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, in the Stockholm region since the start of the outbreak, of whom 3,016 have tested positive.

The field hospital in Älvsjö will initially accept only a few patients, after which it will increase its beds to 140, including some intensive care capacity. The number of beds can eventually be increased to at least 600.

What should you be doing to help reduce the rate of infection?

In Sweden, the official advice requires everyone to:

  • Stay at home if you have any cold- or flu-like symptoms, even if they are mild and you would normally continue life as normal. Stay at home until you have been fully symptom-free for at least two days.
     
  • Practise good hygiene, by regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water, using hand sanitiser when that’s not possible, and covering any coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
     
  • Keep distance from all other people when in public places. That includes shops, parks, museums, and on the street, for example. The World Health Organisation recommends keeping at least a 1.5-2 metre distance.
     
  • Avoid large gatherings, including parties, weddings, and other activities.
     
  • Work from home if you can. Employers have been asked to ensure this happens where possible.
     
  • Avoid all non-essential travel, both within and outside Sweden. That includes visits to family, planned holidays, and any other trips that can be avoided.
     
  • If you have to travel, avoid busy times such as rush hour if you can. This reduces the number of people on public transport and makes it easier for people to keep their distance.
     
  • If you are over 70 or belong to a high-risk group, you should stay at home and reduce all social contacts. Avoid going to the shops (get groceries delivered or try to find someone who can help you), but you can go outside if you keep distance from other people. Read more about the help available to those in risk groups here.
     
  • By following these precautions, we can all help to protect those who are most at risk and to reduce the rate of infection, which in turn reduces the burden on Sweden's healthcare sector.
     
  • Read more detail about the precautions we should all be taking in this paywall-free article. Advice in English is also available from Sweden's Public Health Agency and the World Health Organisation.

 


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