Hospital services gradually returning to normal
Below are the highlights of today’s press conference featuring health minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, consultant doctor Bjarni á Steig and deputy manager of the National Hospital Margit Stórá.
Margit Stórá said that the encouraging corona statistics in the past few weeks mean that the hospital system can now start to slowly return to normal functions.
The corona situation has placed heavy demands on the hospital system, with radical restructuring of all three of the country’s hospitals. Many patients have had their treatment postponed, and many who were scheduled to travel abroad for treatment have also had to endure delays.
It is estimated that 60 percent of planned consultations have been carried out. Between 70 and 80 percent fewer surgeries have been carried out since the corona measures were introduced.
Only seven corona patients have been hospitalised, and hospital staff are not aware of any of these infecting other patients or staff.
Outpatient clinics will gradually return to normal capacity.
Although the dedicated corona wards will be reduced in size by moving beds back to their original wards, the Faroese hospital system is well-equipped to deal with a possible second wave of COVID-19.
The corona ward at the National Hospital has now been reduced to seven beds, although three is believed to be enough.
Consultant doctor Bjarni á Steig said there is no epidemic in the Faroe Islands and the number of undocumented cases is probably low.
He praised the public’s adherence to the guidelines about social distancing and hygiene, but he noted that not all incoming travellers have adhered to the recommended 14-day quarantine.
The authorities have contact details and other information about every individual travelling to the country, making contact-tracing relatively easy.
Those who have been infected by incoming travellers are also incoming travellers themselves. In other words, there has been no domestic infection since the infection curve flattened out.
Question from the floor: Danish citizens are currently allowed to travel to the Faroes, and it is conceivable that people will wish to visit our country because the coronavirus is virtually non-existent here. How are the authorities planning to approach such a scenario? Bjarni á Steig said that all incoming travellers are asked about the purpose of their trip. If someone who is not a citizen of the Danish kingdom cannot give a clear and valid reason for visiting, the person will be sent away again on the next flight. For Danish citizens, the normal recommendation about a 14-day quarantine applies.
Health minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen said there has been unsatisfactory follow-ups of incoming travellers who have gone into quarantine. Faroese authorities have not done enough to communicate with them about their condition.
Testing all incoming travellers will result in a false sense of security because it can take up to 14 days before any symptoms emerge.
The health minister concluded the press conference by thanking the Faroese public and health professionals for their efforts to fight COVID-19.
Translated by prosa.fo