Two more deaths by COVID-19 were reported yesterday in Iceland, bringing the country’s total of deaths from the disease to six. A man in his sixties died at Iceland’s National University Hospital in Reykjavík, becoming the fifth in Iceland to lost his battle with the disease. The country’s sixth COVID-19 victim died in at the nursing home Berg in Bolungarvík in the Westfjords yesterday.
The man who died yesterday in Reykjavík was named Sigurður H. Sverrisson and was born in 1953, RÚV reports. His wife had died recently, on March 8. A Facebook post by Sigurður’s brother said the two would be “sorely missed.”
Nursing home relying on reserve force staff
The nursing home resident who died in the Westfjords yesterday was named Gunnsteinn Svavar Sigurðsson and was born in 1938. Two other residents at the nursing home have COVID-19 and three others are in isolation, with test results pending. Five residents are in quarantine though asymptomatic.
A notice from the Westfjords Health Institution states that the majority of the nursing home’s staff is in isolation, and five have tested positive for coronavirus. Other permanent staff, with the exception of three individuals, are in quarantine, and the nursing home residents are therefore being attended to exclusively by staff from the national reserve force or other departments of the health centre. More staff from the reserve force are expected to arrive by helicopter today, weather permitting.
Mayor concerned about small businesses
Bolungarvík (population 931) has banned gatherings of over five people, stricter than the national gathering ban of groups over 20. Jón Páll Hreinsson, the town’s mayor, says there is a lot of solidarity in the community, but expressed concern for small businesses that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the virus. “Those who are making sacrifices in this [situation] are the small service providers,” he told RÚV. “The beauty parlours and the entire restaurant industry which is of course very vulnerable in these small places […] the income disappears.”
The municipality’s response package includes measures to support small businesses. Jón Páll stated that he was in contact with his colleagues across the country who are facing the same challenges. “They are all very concerned about this and most municipalities plan to intervene.”