New figures reveal how the coronavirus is spreading in Stockholm

New figures reveal how the coronavirus is spreading in Stockholm
'Behind the statistics there's me,' reads a note left at a memorial spot for coronavirus victims outside parliament in Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Stockholm health authorities have released new figures that break down how the coronavirus epidemic is affecting the region and the City of Stockholm itself.

The Swedish capital is the region that has been hit the hardest by the epidemic in the country so far, with 7,622 confirmed cases of the virus as of April 29th (the breakdown in the table below only compiles data from up to midnight between April 26th and 27th, which explains why the number in the table is lower).

A total of 1,287 people have died in Stockholm after testing positive for the virus. That's more than half of the country's 2,355 victims as reported on April 28th.

Some of the possible reasons previously mentioned for why Stockholm has been much more affected than many other parts of Sweden are that the region is further ahead in the curve and that it had its February school break in a week where the outbreak in Italy (a popular destination for Swedish ski tourists) started getting serious, which may have led to a large number of infections.

But the reason that is mentioned above all, and where Swedish authorities have admitted failure, is that the virus spread to such a large extent within Stockholm's care homes for the elderly – one of the main groups at risk.

Almost half of all people, or 567, who have died with the coronavirus in Stockholm were tested at a care home for the elderly. A total of 1,660 people at such care homes have tested positive for the virus as of April 29th. And out of in total 313 elderly care homes in Stockholm, 205 have at least one resident with the virus.

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The Local has previously written about how Stockholm's suburbs Rinkeby-Kista and Spånga-Tensta have been overrepresented in the statistics. Last week, we asked Sweden's Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin how the government planned to tackle the health inequalities exposed by the virus in the future. She said:

“It's like all other serious events in society, the vulnerable are hit the hardest. It is that sad. We need to strengthen these groups and decrease inequality in society, that's the most important thing.”

The latest figures in the table below show that the coronavirus is currently spreading the fastest in southern Stockholm, with health officials also noting a fast increase in the Värmdö and Kungsholmen areas.

Stockholm infectious disease doctor Per Follin stressed that it is also important to consider the factors that may affect the figures – such as the average age of the population, the general health of the population, when the outbreak started in the area, or whether or not the infection has spread to care homes in the area.

“The most important way to reduce the number of cases with Covid-19 is that Stockholmers continue to follow the Public Health Agency's advice. Not gather with more people than those living together in one household, avoiding public transport and keep working remotely if you can. The most important thing is to avoid visiting the elderly and other risk groups who need to be prepared to self-isolate for another few weeks,” he warned.

A total of 203 patients with the coronavirus were in intensive care units in Stockholm as of April 28th, with an additional 805 receiving hospital care. According to Stockholm health authorities, there are currently 500 unoccupied hospital beds in the region and around 60 beds available in intensive care units. 

Have you received or tried to receive healthcare in Sweden? We are always keen to hear from readers so that our coverage can reflect your experiences. Please email [email protected] if you would like to share your story.

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