Many small municipalities are experiencing an influx of cabin people who want corona testing at Christmas. In Nesbyen alone, the population has increased fivefold.
– Many municipalities with few inhabitants, but many cabins, experience an increased influx of cabin people who want testing. That’s what Marte Kvittum Tangen says.
As the leader of the Norwegian Association for General Practice, she has been contacted by municipal doctors who talk about busy days.
She fears that the progress will be even greater during Christmas in space, when many people celebrate the New Year at the cabin.
Some winter tourists call because they have experienced symptoms that may be covid. Others because they want to test themselves out of quarantine or because they have been notified that they are close contacts.
Warns people in quarantine against going to the cabin
– Many have traveled to the cabin even though they are in quarantine, she says.
Kvittum Tangen states that many are told by their home municipality that they must test themselves where they are staying, and that they should not drive a car if there is a suspicion of covid.
She is worried about tourist municipalities that are already in a pressured situation because:
- There is an increased load due to increased number of covid cases
- Other disease
- Many healthcare professionals are ill or in quarantine
- It is difficult to get substitutes.
– There is a great shortage of rapid tests and the municipalities have been given these according to population.
– We want people not to go to the cabin if they are in quarantine or if they have symptoms that may be covid. The health service in the cottage municipalities does not have the capacity for extra inhabitants, says Kvittum Tangen.
Winter tourists surpass test capacity
Ståle Onsgård Sagabråten is a regular doctor in Nesbyen in Hallingdal. He says that they experience a fivefold increase in the population during the Christmas holidays.
– We go from 20,000 to over 100,000. It far exceeds our test capacity.
The test stations have not been open over the Christmas weekend.
But test-related questions still come directly to the municipal superior, says Sagabråten.
When the test stations open on Monday, he expects that there will be inquiries.
– We have rigged ourselves, but see that it is difficult for us to meet all requests we receive about respiratory infections. There are many on the mountain, many get snuffy. We recommend that everyone who knows the symptoms go home again for testing and isolation, he says.
Tynset: Almost no room for more at the test stations
Municipal chief physician Tor Halvor Bjørnstad-Tuveng in Tynset says it is difficult to say how much the pressure has increased. The infection has also increased, he points out.
– We were completely stretched before Christmas, until the requirement for PCR testing fell away. But there is almost no room for more at the test stations now. We drive at maximum capacity all the time.
Still, the pressure is a little less than it was at the same time last year, he says.
– But then there was a clearer recommendation for testing before going home for Christmas. And even though there is less pressure, our capacity is poorer and the wear is greater. Those who are testing now have been working non-stop for two years. They feel it on the body.
To Tynset, there are two groups that come at Christmas time: Cabin owners and people who come home for family celebrations. But one group Bjørnstad-Tuveng would prefer to stay at home: People who are in quarantine.
– People are fortunately good at testing themselves, we are happy about that. But if there are some who do not have the quick tests at the cabin, we of course try to help them, he says.