From 21.00 on Friday evening, a bandage obligation and an order for a home office in Bergen and 12 surrounding municipalities will be introduced.
One day after the population in Oslo and the neighboring municipalities were imposed with new and stricter infection control measures, large parts of the population in Vestland county must find themselves in the same situation (see fact box further down in the case).
Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol says in a press release that “the situation is very challenging”. Both the municipal health service and the hospitals are already struggling with high sickness absence.
In addition, they receive a large influx of patients.
Both the Norwegian Directorate of Health and the National Institute of Public Health say that they have followed the situation in Vestland county closely. Their concern has increased in line with infection rates.
On Friday, NTB announced that 344 new corona-infected people have been registered in Bergen. It was a new 24-hour record.
– We currently have no indications that this is due to the introduction of omicron. Here we have to wait for the analysis results from the laboratory at Haukeland University Hospital, said infection control chief Marit Voltersvik.
She says it is important to note that 80 percent of the infections were tested on 1 December.
– In any case, the infection situation is of such a nature that there is a need to implement the necessary measures as soon as possible, and this is being worked on. With such high infection rates and a confusing situation associated with the new omicron variant, it is very important that residents are extra careful to follow the infection control rules, says the infection control chief.
On Friday, 20 patients with coronary heart disease were admitted to Helse Bergen. Three of the patients receive intensive care.
Asking about the effect
The aim of the new measures is to limit the pace of the spread of infection. The fear is that the new omicron variant is far more contagious than the delta variant that now dominates.
But: On Friday, Aftenposten wrote that the National Institute of Public Health doubts that the measures will have the desired effect. At the same time, Norway has a great advantage over everyone who has been vaccinated. As many as 92 per cent of those over the age of 18 have received one sting. 88 percent have received two stab wounds.
However, new variants have been shown to penetrate and infect the vaccinated as well. This problem is now repeated.
- The vaccine seems to have a low effect on preventing omicron infection.
- Experts internationally also fear that you may be re-infected with omicron, even if you have had corona before.
- Furthermore, omicron seems to be more contagious than delta.
“The vaccine effect can be very low when it comes to the spread of infection,” it says in the Norwegian Directorate of Health and NIPH’s recommendation to the government.
FHI justifies this as follows: 60 people at a Christmas table in Oslo were infected with coronary heart disease. It is assumed that this is about the omicron variant. Everyone was fully vaccinated. We also see this trend internationally.
Considering closing schools
The schools in Bergen are struggling with high sickness absence among the employees. Now the school director in the municipality says that they are not far from having to close schools.
There are currently outbreaks of infections at a number of schools in Bergen. Illness also means that absenteeism among school employees in Bergen is now very high.
School director Frode Nilsen says Bergens Tidende that many schools are under pressure due to high sickness absence among employees.