The region reported 806 cases in the first week of February, up from 440 the previous week, with a statement from the regional council saying “the increase in Skellefteå is primarily linked to one workplace and in Lycksele to two schools”.
Overall, the percentage of tests returning positive results was 7.9 percent, still lower than the national average.
The outbreak in the town of Skellefteå was “clearly connected” to battery manufacturer Northvolt, the region said, adding that the employer had begun extensive staff screening. Northvolt employs around 1,000 people in the area.
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In Lycksele, around 150 people tested positive for Covid-19 after outbreaks began at two schools, one for over-16s and one for 13-15-year-olds.
For lower secondary schools (högstadiet, typically for 13-15-year-olds), it's up to the manager of the school to decide if they want to continue in-person teaching or switch entirely or partially to distance learning, which upper secondary schools for over-16s may have some parts of teaching in-person, in combination with distance learning.
Both the schools affected by the Lycksele outbreaks are now teaching remotely.
Of the cases more than 30 people tested positive for the variant of the coronavirus first reported in the UK, called B117.
“The development is very serious. We must make sure to meet as few people as possible, move less in society and prioritise necessary activities,” said the region's infectious disease physician Stephan Stenmark, reiterating the current national guidelines aimed at curbing the spread of infection.
Under current national guidelines, everyone should limit close contact to a small circle of close friends or family, social distance in public, work from home if possible, and limit time spent in public places like shops.