Frøya municipality is in the middle of a Covid-19 outbreak which is particularly affecting children and youths. As there is less focus on “testing, isolation, contagion-tracing and isolation” than there was before, Frøya municipality met with our head municipal doctors, Ingrid and Leticia, to hear more about the situation today and the way forward.
Frøya municipality is now experiencing an increase in Covid-19 cases. Should people be scared?
People should not be scared.
It is true that we are in the middle of an outbreak that is hitting children and young people, and those who are not yet vaccinated. However, we are not concerned. If we had of had the same numbers of contagion earlier, before we had come so far with vaccinations, there would be a completely different level of concern. The majority of those who are in the high risk group for a serious case of Covid-19 have now been vaccinated and are therefore well protected.
The main reason we have changed our strategy toward to Covid-19 in this outbreak is that children and youths generally experience little to no symptoms of Covid-19. Therefore the consequences of getting infected are much lower. Additionally, children and youths very seldom become seriously ill from the corona virus. Therefore it is not necessary to react with such strong measures, and we are now gradually moving towards testing, tracking, and quarantining for Covid-19 less vigorously because the illness is not as dangerous now as it was previously.
We understand that this can be difficult to understand, and that it can feel difficult to lighten our measures. However, Covid-19 is less dangerous for the general population now than it was earlier. We have also received many questions about why we have not closed down the schools. The main reason for this is as we have described above, in addition to the logic that as more youths are vaccinated, there will be less chance of contagion in the schools.
It is important now that we continue to try to keep measures for fighting the corona virus as un-invasive as possible for the lives of young people, and that we eventually reach a level where we consider the corona virus as a similar threat as influensa.
· Covid 19 can be scary for many people. What do you think about that?
The virus is less dangerous for normal people than earlier. Not just because it has changed, but because the majority of us are now vaccinated. Additionally, children and youths most often have only mild symptoms.
We understand that it is difficult to think differently about this, considering our reaction was different earlier, but we are now in a new fase of the pandemic, as long as those who can be seriously ill have chosen to get vaccinated.
Therefore it is not necessary to implement such strong measures, and we now go over to so called “lessened” testing, tracing and quarantine simply because the virus is not as dangerous now as it was earlier.
• Sports activities and extra-curricular activities are important for children and youths. What are the rules for sports and similar activities? Testing, tracing, quarantine, etc. Who do the rules apply to?
The goal is that recreational activities will continue as normal. This is an important part of the lives of young people, and it is important that these activities continue as long as they can.
This week we said that no one should leave the municipality for sports related actives, but that regular trainings could continue as normal. We have arrived at the conclusion now that all activities can continue as normal. However, it is important that you do not participate in any such activities if you feel sick or have any symptoms of respiratory illness. In that case you should book a test and remain home until you receive a result. This applies to both children and adults, at work, school or recreational activities.
Those who are defined as close contacts will receive information about this from the contagion tracing group if they need to go into ordinary quarantine. Other close contacts ( who are not members of the same household or as close) are recommended to get tested, but do not need to go into quarantine.
· Is the virus as dangerous now as it was when we had an outbreak around Christmas 2020?
The virus does not have the same consequences now as it did when we had an outbreak last Christmas. At that point no one was vaccinated and contagion in the general population would have had much more serious consequences both for individuals, but also for the pressure on our health care services. There are now fewer who are hospitalized, even though there are higher numbers of contagion- simply because those who have the highest risk for serious illness have been vaccinated.
• Frøya municipality has changed its strategies toward “testing, isolation, contagion tracing and quarantine”. Why have they changed their strategy? What has changed?
We are now lessening our measures of testing, isolation, tracing and quarantine. This is because the consequences of contagion are not as dangerous now as they were earlier.
These are the changes that have been made:
▪ You should still get tested if you develop symptoms
▪ We are prepared to quickly preform mass testing, if the need arises
▪ Those infected must go directly into isolation
▪ The municipality is contagion tracing only household members and those who are reasonably close (boyfriends/girlfriends, close friends)
▪ Only these close contacts will go into quarantine
▪ Quarantine can be replaced with testing if the close contacts are not further exposed - meaning, if they do not continue to live together with the infected person or be together with them for longer periods
▪ Oher close contacts do not need to enter quarantine, but are encouraged to:
▪ get tested as soon as possible
▪ limit social activities until a negative result is received
▪ Be aware of any symptoms that may arise in 10 dager
▪ Have a low threshold for testing if any symptoms occur
• How do you see the future?
We are positive when we think about the future and expect that we will get back to normal. The most important thing now is to stay home if you have any cold symptoms, including a sore throat or a stuffy nose. It is also important that we still maintain a one meter distance and good hand hygiene. We encourage all of those who have not gotten vaccinated to book themselves an appointment through the website remin.no. Together we will get out of this pandemic, and we thank everyone for the efforts they are putting in to get through this!
Warm greetings from the head municipal doctors,
Ingrid and Leticia