Corona testing instruments.

Cases of a more contagious strain of coronavirus also found in Helsinki – get tested with a low threshold

The more easily transmitted variant of coronavirus understandably concerns many Helsinki residents. However, it is possible to identify this virus variant that originated in the United Kingdom and has now also started to appear in Helsinki. You should seek to get tested when exhibiting even the slightest of symptoms.

The British variant of coronavirus is characterised by a mutation than can be recognised in normal tests in the laboratory utilised by the City of Helsinki. Each suspected variant case will be examined more thoroughly. Identifying the mutation is a quick way of discovering the potential British variant in order to target actions. The private laboratories in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area are also able to identify the mutation.

“Because we are able to identify the more contagious strain in laboratory tests, we have the opportunity to prevent its spreading in Helsinki. We are working hard to ensure that the coronavirus situation will not deteriorate due to the new British variant,” says the Chief Physician Sanna Isosomppi from the City of Helsinki’s Epidemiologic operations unit, describing the current situation. The more easily transmitted variant of coronavirus has been discovered from some twenty people tested in Helsinki.

People exposed to the new strain will be tested twice

If the new variant of coronavirus is suspected, the people exposed to it will be placed in a 14-day quarantine instead of the usual ten-day one. Additionally, all those who have been in close contact with an infected person will be tested twice even if they do not have any symptoms suggesting a COVID-19 infection.

They will be tested once at the beginning of their quarantine, and the second test will be taken two days before their quarantine ends.

All interviews with infected persons (contact tracing) will consider that the infection may be caused by the new virus variant. Therefore, it will be carefully reviewed whether the case is connected to a trip abroad.

Still too many infections

During the past few weeks, the number of new infection cases has stabilised.  However, there are still many infections. Social contacts with others than those living in the same household have recently become a more common source of infection.

Too few people get tested at the moment. As the number of tested people is at a low level, there is a risk that some infections remain hidden.

Sanna Isosomppi highlights the importance of testing in preventing the spreading of COVID-19.

“I encourage people to get tested as soon as any symptoms of a possible coronavirus infection occur. Testing and contact tracing play a central role for breaking the infection chains.”

“In Helsinki, you can get tested on the same day through the Omaolo service or the City’s Coronavirus Helpline, and the network of test points is extensive. At the moment, test results will be available in less than 24 hours, which is very fast,” Isosomppi continues. 

Get tested for COVID-19 if any symptoms occur

  • online service
  • call the Coronavirus Helpline, tel. 09 310 10024, available every day 8:00–18:00.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to cold and stomach flu symptoms. Typical symptoms of the infection include fever, coughing, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, muscle ache, a sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, shortness of breath and loss of sense of smell or taste. Everyone displaying symptoms of a COVID-19 coronavirus infection are instructed to get tested, regardless of their age.

Photo: Kimmo Brandt