Long Waiting List for Emergency Care

Emergency room

The National Hospital’s emergency ward operated at level three alert this weekend due to lack of space, RÚV reports. The waiting list for admission was 30 patients long, in part due to an influenza outbreak in the hospital. Twenty-seven patients at the hospital have come down with the flu, 14 of them just last week.

Chief Physician Jón Magnús Kristjánsson says the waiting list for emergency care was unusually long this weekend. “There was no single thing that explained the situation over the weekend, but the flu is in full swing which was a part of the situation,” he stated. Patients with influenza in some cases require hospitalisation for weeks.

Jón Magnús pointed out that such conditions could easily create a dangerous environment. “It’s always more difficult to fully ensure good service and safety for patients under these conditions,” he stated, adding that extra staff had been called out in response to the situation.

The hospital usually operates at level two alert. At level three, all the hospital’s departments are activated and admit more patients than otherwise. “What needs to be done to prevent such a state of affairs is to provide adequate resources for elderly people who have completed their hospital treatment and to ensure adequate staffing of nurses and medical staff at the hospital’s inpatient ward,” Jón Magnús explained. While there is a plan to increase the number of hospital beds in the Reykjavík capital area over the next few years, he said, “there is nothing that will solve this in the short term.”

Westfjords Mayor Complains of Snow on Google Maps

Bolungarvík Google Maps


Jón Páll Hreinsson, mayor of Westfjords town Bolungarvík, has sent in a complaint to Google Maps because the application’s satellite image of the town is covered in snow. RÚV reported first. While Jón Páll admitted that the Westfjords are often covered in snow, he complained that its presence on the map makes it difficult to use.

“I don’t know about you, but it really gets on my nerves that part of the Westfjords (including Bolungarvík) is covered with snow in Google’s map service,” the mayor of the 950-person fishing village wrote in a Facebook post. Jón Páll stated that the snow was “annoying” when he needed to use the map to evaluate driving times between locations, but that he was also thinking of “the millions who are now looking at the Westfjords as a destination and see.. well very little due to the snow.”

“I know that there is snow in the Westfjords and this is often the reality,” Jón Páll added, “but places are just not shown like this in general and if it’s possible to show Hammerfest (in Norway) in its finest green, then it’s also possible here!”

Jón Páll included a screenshot of his letter in the Facebook post and encouraged other annoyed residents to send in complaints.


Pollution High Along Major Roads in Reykjavík


Air quality is poor in the capital area today, particularly along Sæbraut and Miklabraut streets in Reykjavík, RÚV reports. Particulate pollution levels are expected to be high in the coming days, due to the prevalence of studded tires combined with dry weather conditions.

High particulate pollution levels are often measured in Reykjavík at this time of year, when there is often no snow on the ground and drivers have yet to trade in studded tires for summer tires. Particulate pollution can negatively affect individuals with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

To tackle the problem, the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration has decided to dust bind major streets in Reykjavík, as well as Reykjanesbraut. Residents are encouraged to do their part to reduce traffic by carpooling or choosing public transportation over driving when possible.