Stricter general guidelines in Värmland to prevent the spread of infection2020-11-13
The Public Health Agency of Sweden has, in consultation with medical officers for infectious disease control and the County Administrative Board of Värmland, decided on stricter general guidelines. The aim is to further reduce unnecessary contact between people and thereby the spread of infection. The decision is effective from 12 November until 10 December 2020, but may be extended.
“We will immediately review whether we need to clarify the university’s information further to comply with the stricter general guidelines”, says Jan Gambring, head of security at Karlstad University. “The guidelines call for us to take more responsibility, and this applies to students and employees at the university, as well as society at large. We urge everyone to follow the stricter general guidelines.”
The number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Värmland has increased dramatically, putting more and more strain on the health care services. Extra measures are therefore required in addition to the Public Health Agency’s regulations and general guidelines.
From 12 November, everyone in Värmland County is urged to:
• Refrain from making unnecessary trips, both within and outside the region or district
Travel within or between regions can contribute to increasing the spread of infection as you will often meet new people, possibly starting new chains of infection. As far as possible, you should therefore refrain from any such journeys. This guideline is not intended to prevent you from, for example, getting to work, studies/other occupation or receiving care that requires your attendance at a healthcare facility. If a journey is unavoidable, it is important that it is made in a manner that presents the least possible risk of infection, by maintaining social distance and avoiding new contacts.
• Avoid indoor environments where people are likely to gather; for example, shops, shopping centres, museums, libraries, public baths and gyms
Exceptions to this rule are visits to the grocery store, pharmacy, etc. You should avoid spending more time than is absolutely necessary indoors with people that you do not normally meet. Outdoor environments are not covered by this guideline, nor are necessary errands such as buying food or medicine or taking medically motivated exercise in public baths or gyms. However, it is important to plan any such visits for times when the risk of crowding is low and, if you do exercise, to avoid changing rooms.
• Refrain from participating in activities such as meetings, concerts, performances, sports training or matches and competitions
This guideline does not, however, apply to training for children and young people of compulsory school age. You should avoid events where many people are likely to gather at the same time, whether indoors or outdoors; for example, concerts, theatres, cinemas and other performances, religious services and celebrations. Not only does the risk of infection increase in these situations, but it is also risky to travel to and from such events.
Sport is important for children and young people and as this group in general is not as seriously affected by this infection, they may continue to attend training sessions for their sport. That said, it remains important to avoid unnecessary physical contact and the sharing of water bottles and equipment such as ice hockey pads. It is also a good idea for accompanying adults to simply drop off and collect the child rather than risking any new contacts.
Matches and competitions should not be held, whether for children or adults, as these generally involve meeting new people and it may prove difficult to refrain from participating even if one has symptoms. Matches and competitions include cups, leagues and other competitive events.
Participation in professional sport is not covered by this guideline.
• Avoid physical contact with people other than those you live with
This guideline tightens the requirement to maintain social distancing from people other than those you live with. For the purposes of the guidelines, physical contact refers to meeting people at a distance of 1 to 1.5 metres when the meeting itself (the contact) lasts for longer than 15 minutes. This type of physical contact should be completely avoided.
You should also refrain from certain kinds of activity that cannot be performed while physically distanced from others. This may refer to: certain sporting activities, such as contact sports like wrestling, ice hockey and basketball; private events such as parties, weddings, dinner parties and after-work events; health and beauty treatments that are not medically justified, such as massages, pedicures, haircuts, etc.
Businesses and workplaces will also be required to act in the event of local outbreaks
In the event of a local outbreak of COVID-19, businesses and workplaces in the affected region or district will be required to take measures to prevent the spread of infection. Local general guidelines aimed at workplaces and businesses will consist of examples of measures that may make it easier for people to maintain social distancing and avoid infection. The person responsible for the business/workplace in question decides which of these measures to apply.
A few examples of measures:
• Adjusting or increasing opening hours to reduce the risk of infection.
• Using systems that show when the risk of infection is greatest or when people should avoid visiting the premises.
• Providing information regarding how many people can gather on the premises at any given time.
• Attempting to steer visitors towards times when there is less congestion or offer digital alternatives.
• Providing information regarding when it is inappropriate, unless absolutely necessary, for an entire family or other group of people to visit the premises. It may even be possible to offer outdoor activities for accompanying children.
Workplaces have been especially highlighted in the general guidelines, as a large proportion of those contracting COVID-19 have been infected at work. The most important measures a workplace can take are to encourage working from home or to introduce flexible working hours so that staff can avoid using public transport during the rush hour for the duration of the local general guidelines.
Please note that schools are regulated by a separate ordinance.