COVID-19 in Iceland: Authorities Optimistic as Case Numbers Drop Skip to content

COVID-19 in Iceland: Authorities Optimistic as Case Numbers Drop

By Yelena

COVID-19 test tubes
Photo: A screenshot from RÚV.

Iceland’s third wave of COVID-19 appears to be subsiding, the country’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason stated at a briefing today. He warned, however, that there is an ongoing risk of group infections that could reverse the numbers’ descent. If the curve continues to trend downwards, Þórólfur stated restrictions could be eased as early as November 18.

Iceland reported 25 new domestic cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Only five were not already in quarantine at the time of diagnosis, and that number has not been so low since August 27. Authorities stated that containing this third wave of infection was going well and they felt they had the nation’s support.

Hospital Still Under Strain

The healthcare system is still under heavy strain, though the strain remains fairly steady, Director of Health Alma Möller stated at the briefing. Two cases were diagnosed yesterday among hospital staff that are possibly connected to the group outbreak at the National University Hospital’s Landakot location, though this has not been confirmed. Authorities praised hospital staff, many of whom face difficult conditions at work and have even isolated themselves from their families.

Pregnant Women’s Healthcare Access Vital

The briefing’s special guest today was Hulda Hjartardóttir, Head Doctor of Maternity Services at the National University Hospital. Hulda stated that while pregnant women are not more likely to contract the SARS-CoV-2 virus than others, there is some research that suggests they can experience more severe symptoms than others in their age group. In addition, conditions tied to pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure, can be exacerbated by COVID-19. Hulda urged pregnant women to continue to seek out necessary healthcare, and stressed the importance of making sure expectant mothers don’t avoid check-ups due to fear of infection.

In response to reporters’ questions, Hula revealed there had been 50 cases of pregnant women contracting COVID-19 in Iceland since the pandemic began. In some cases, women gave birth while they had an active infection. Such cases have been challenging for everyone involved: the women, their partners, and healthcare staff.

Public Encouraged to “Travel In-House”

Víðir encouraged the public to stay at home over the weekend. He underlined the importance of continued preventative measures such as distancing, hand washing, and use of hand sanitizer. He added that he believed the public had been following the rules well so far. “Let’s keep doing that.”

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