What to do if you suspect having contracted the coronavirus? Who is at high risk? Do children attend school and day care? Which services provided by the City of Turku are open? (Updated 30/10/2020)

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Coronavirus COVID-19 (thl.fi)

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Coronavirus and health service

I have flu-like symptoms, is it coronavirus?

Symptoms of coronavirus vary and may even be very mild for some people. Symptoms may also occur in different combinations or separately. Symptoms may include e.g. runny and/or stuffy nose, sore throat, elevated temperature or fever, muscle pain/headache, unusual tiredness, diarrhea, nausea, shortness of breath and disturbances of smell and taste.

Even though pupils and students often experience only mild symptoms, it is important to get tested.

Merely based on symptoms, you cannot be sure whether respiratory tract infection is caused by coronavirus or another virus or bacteria. If you are suspected to have coronavirus, you will be tested. Testing involves inserting a swab into the cavity between the nose and mouth. So far, there are no antibody tests available at health stations.

When do I need a health care professional to evaluate my symptoms?

If respiratory infection symptoms include weakened general condition, clearly prolonged fever and shortness of breath, seek medical attention and guidance.

If you experience these symptoms, call the City of Turku coronavirus helpline, tel. +358 2 266 2714 (Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm and on weekends from 9 am to 11 am) or joint emergency services of the Turku region (outside office hours, tel. +358 2 313 8800) or complete an online assessment of your symptoms at Omaolo. In case of emergency, call 112.

What if I suspect having contracted the coronavirus?

If you have symptoms matching coronavirus, complete a COVID-19 symptom check-up using the Omaolo service (What to do if you suspect having caught the coronavirus infection) or contact one the following by phone: 

  • ​the coronavirus helpline of the City of Turku, tel. +358 2 266 2714
  • occupational health care
  • Joint emergency services of the Turku region, tel. +358 2 313 8800

The health care professionals will interview you, evaluate the situation and give further instructions over the phone.

If you are suspected to have coronavirus, you will be tested. Health care stations use a test that involves inserting a swab into the cavity between the nose and mouth. So far, there are no antibody tests available.

The Omaolo service offers a a COVID-19 symptom check-up. Through the service, you can quickly get reliable information on your situation and you will be guided directly to the correct professional, if needed.

For Turku residents who have completed the symptoms assessment online, a time slot will automatically be booked online for coronavirus testing. People under 16 years of age are advised to complete the Omaolo symptom assessment with a parent.

What do I do if the Koronavilkku app notifies me about potential exposure?

Follow instructions given through the app. If you experience symptoms matching coronavirus, contact health care. If you don't have any symptoms, there is no need for contacting.

How does the unit for patients with respiratory infecious diseases at Mäntymäki health care station work? 

You need to book an appointment by calling the coronavirus helpline, tel. +358 2 266 2714 (Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm and on weekends from 9 am to 11 am). Only patients with respiratory symptoms are examined and treated at this unit.

Are instructions related to coronavirus distributed in the port of Turku and at the airport?

Throughout spring, Turku collaborated with the airport and port to restrain the coronavirus epidemic. Information on coronavirus has been distributed in the terminals of Viking Line and Tallink&Silja in the port as well as at Turku Airport. In August-September, the City of Turku and the Hospital District of Southwest Finland tested passengers arriving on flights from Skopje and Gdansk. All passengers were given instructions and an opportunity to get tested.

Finnish Red Cross volunteers meet passengers arriving from high-risk countries in the port of Turku and at the airport, providing instructions related to coronavirus. 

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has divided European countries into categories based on their coronavirus situation by using a traffic light model. The traffic lights are updated weekly.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: Travel and the coronavirus pandemic

People arriving from high-risk countries must self-isolate for 10 days. From 1 October, it has been possible to reduce the duration of self-isolation by getting tested for coronavirus twice, with the second test taken 72 hours from the first one. If you would like to reduce the duration of self-isolation by getting tested, you must get tested for coronavirus after your arrival e.g. by contacting the health station of your municipality or your occupational health. Alternatively, you can call the City of Turku coronavirus helpline, tel. +358 2 266 2714 (on weekdays between 8 am and 3 pm). 

How many of those initially infected will heal?

The majority of people who have contracted the coronavirus will heal. The majority of patients treated at the hospitals also recover.

Can I go to the dentist if I have respiratory infection symptoms and a tooth ache?

Patients with symptoms of respiratory tract infection (such as cough, sore throat, myalgia or fever) are treated only in urgent cases. Oral health care will send the customer a text message if the appointment is cancelled.

  • Booking oral health care appointments, tel. +358 2 266 0644

Where will I go during the weekend if I need a doctor for something other than symptoms of respiratory infection?

You can call Joint emergency services of the Turku region, TYKS Acute, tel. +358 2 313 8800

  • test your symptoms at Omaolo to check your need for care

How do I cancel my health care appointment when the telephone service is busy?

Appointments can be cancelled 24/7 by telephone. First, select the health center you belong to and press 3. Then leave a message to the voicemail.

If the line is closed during office hours due to congestion, for example, the message cannot be left. Wait for the phone line to reopen and leave a message.

How soon can I get tested and how long do I need to wait for the result?

At the moment, you can get tested on the day of contacting or the following day. On weekdays, you will receive the result in 1 or 2 days after testing. If you have been tested during weekend, you will receive the result on the next weekday. An automated notification about a negative test result is being developed.

I have an education within the health or social sector and I want to help. Who should I contact?

If you have an education within the health sector and are willing to offer your help, please contact Turku health services:

If you have an education within the social sector and are willing to offer your help, please contact Turku social services:

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Masks and recommendation to use a mask

Do I need a face mask to protect myself against coronavirus?

The regional coronavirus prevention task force of Southwest Finland stated on 6 October that the whole region of Southwest Finland has reached the acceleration phase of coronavirus pandemic. Using a face mask is recommended in upper secondary education and higher education institutions as well as in public transport, indoors in public facilities and in public events. The regional coronavirus prevention task force also recommends that private events involving more than 20 people should not be organized indoors from Monday 19 October onwards because of the acceleration of the pandemic.

Besides wearing face masks, it is important to keep safety distances and take care of good hand and coughing hygiene. Using face masks may reduce the spreading of respiratory secretions (droplets) into the nearby surroundings. In this way, they can also reduce infections caused by symptom-free carriers of virus. 

The City of Turku has recommended the use of face masks for all passengers in public transport since August. During rush hours, buses may be crowded and it may not be possible to keep safety distances. Whenever possible, travel should take place outside rush hours. We also recommend that you continue to avoid using cash. Please use a mobile ticket instead or load a travel card online, for instance.

When will face masks be distributed for the economically disadvantaged? Where can I get them?

Distribution of masks begins on Tuesday 13 October at 12 noon in Monitori, Skanssi. Two cloth face maks per person are distributed to those in need. Monitori in Skanssi is located on the second floor on the side of western parking lot, opposite the store Intersport. Monitori in Skanssi is open on weekdays between 12 noon and 6 pm.

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High-risk groups and quarantine

Who is at high risk?

So far, there is little exact information available on which chronic illnesses expose individuals to a severe form of coronavirus. We update our list of risk groups as we receive more information. According to current information, people over 70 years of age are more susceptible to a severe coronavirus infection than others.

The risk of a severe coronavirus infection may be increased by such chronic illnesses that have a significant negative impact on the functioning of lungs or the immune system of the body.  Please monitor the information on risk groups defined by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare, as there may be updates.

Who makes decisions on quarantine and isolation?

Decisions on quarantine are made by a chief physician for infectious diseases in the municipality. Quarantine refers to limiting the freedom of movement of a healthy person. Some of infectious diseases can be transmitted even before any actual symptoms occur. The quarantine helps prevent the potential symptom-free carrier from infecting others. Isolation refers to isolating a person with coronavirus at their home during the period when they might infect others.

Can you go outside or to the grocery store during quarantine?

The person in quarantine must avoid close contact with people outside the family. Going outside is allowed when not getting close to other people. For example, going to work, school, day care, hobbies or grocery store is not allowed because it is difficult to avoid close contact in these places.

Can quarantine always take place at home?

Quarantine can usually take place at home. However, if there are people over 70 years of age or people with underlying conditions living in your home, special arrangements may be considered. This is because the person in quarantine may fall ill and pass the disease on to others before accessing treatment. The illness caused by coronavirus may be serious for elderly people and people with underlying conditions.

Are there premises for quarantine in Turku?

The health care authorities in Turku are prepared to arrange premises for quarantine for both individuals and bigger groups. The premises for quarantine are meant for persons who fall ill in Turku but do not live there permanently (such as travellers) or persons who cannot stay home for quarantine (e.g. because they have a seriously ill person at home who they do not want to expose to the illness).

What does self-isolation mean?

If you arrive in Finland from a country that is red or gray in the traffic light model, self-isolating for 10 days is recommended. Self-isolation is recommended even if you return to Finland through a country categorized as green.

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare is updating the guidance on their website for travellers and employees arriving in Finland. The guidance also includes clear instructions for self-isolation:

Can I visit wards of Turku City Hospital without limitations?

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare issued instructions on 15 September regarding hospital visits. Patients in wards of hospital services belong to high-risk groups of coronavirus infection almost without exception. Due to the coronavirus epidemic, it is recommended that visiting patients in hospitals is avoided or reduced for the time being. To be able to visit, you must have adequate protective wear to ensure the safety of patients and other people. Visitors must wear protective wear throughout the duration of hospital visit. As a rule, the hospital doesn't provide masks but if the visitor doesn't have one or their mask is inadequate, they will be given one.

How is the meal service of those who live in welfare centers secured when restaurants are closed?

Some of the residents use home help service and will receive meals. Others will continue normally like any other elderly resident living in their own house.

How will the elderly get help for getting groceries?

Those who need the City of Turku home meal service should contact the support service unit, tel. +358 50 373 1037 (Mon-Fri 9 am–12 pm/noon).

Those welfare center residents who have used meal services of the center will have their pre-packed meals delivered home.

The grocery shopping service organised by the City of Turku ended on 18 June. The City of Turku Welfare Division advises customers of the shopping service to do their own shopping or ask a family member or another person close to them to help.

Persons who cannot do their shopping independently may be provided service by Gubbe Sydänystävä Oy. The service producer may offer help with shopping free of charge as a continuation to the shopping service provided the city.

Several grocery stores in Turku provide chargeable home delivery. You can order the food and home delivery online.

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Teaching and day-care

Are the schools open, is there contact teaching? 

Yes, unless the pupil, student or class has been ordered into quarantine or distance teaching. Varissuon koulu School and Nummenpakan koulu school (Aurajoen yksikkö unit and Nummen yksikkö unit) form an exception – in these schools, pupils in grade 4 and up are in distance teaching for two weeks from 2 November onwards. Younger pupils (grades 1 to 3) go to school as normal. Pupils who need special support can remain in contact teaching unless they have been ordered into quarantine.

Is day care still open?

Day care is open normally. Considering the current coronavirus situation, the City of Turku Education Division recommends that parents use a mask when bringing their child to the day-care centre and when picking them up.

Will the children have a meal service?

Children who attend day care and basic education morning and afternoon activities in the City of Turku, will receive meals as usual.

Children and youth in basic education, high shools and in vocational instititute will receive school meals normally. 

How is the school health care organised?

School health care at schools functions as normally as possible and health check-ups for pupils begin as soon as the term starts. Due to the coronavirus situation, we need to limit visiting the school nurse freely. School nurses are available for walk-in appointments during specific visiting hours. Pupils can also book an appointment in advance. The times of visiting hours vary by school and they are announced e.g. via Wilma. More information on school health care during the corona virus situation.

Further information

City of Turku school and day care during the corona situation

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City of Turku services and events

How does coronavirus affect services and events in the City of Turku?

The City of Turku services are kept running as normal as possible. For instance, indoor swimming pools, other sports facilities, museums and libraries are open.

Strict safety measures are taken everywhere to prevent the spreading of coronavirus. These measures include hand disinfectant, plexiglass, safety distance and reminding staff and customers about safety instructions.

Public events have been organised from August 2020 onwards in accordance with safety instructions and restrictions to number of visitors.

What should be taken into consideration when working with customers?

The Finnish Institute for Occupational Health provides guidance for employees who work in the service industry during the coronavirus situation. These guidelines can be applied in customer work with close contacts, e.g. at hairdressers, in restaurants and shops, in property servicing and guarding.

Where can I ask about serving and selling foods?

Please contact the City of Turku Environmental Health for information.

How do I return or change theater tickets?

All customers who have purchased tickets to canceled shows will be contacted. Tickets can be exchanged into gift cards, autumn shows or customers will be able to get a refund.  The theater has to be notified of ticket chances or refund requests by May 29.

Is the Turku Market Square open?

The Turku Market Square is open for the time being approximately from 7 am to 6 pm.

How can I get food aid intended for the economically disadvantaged?

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Restictions of movement and public gatherings

Gathering restrictions

Regional State Administrative Agencies issue orders on gathering restrictions and restrictions of movement. The purpose is to secure the safety of participants and to prevent the spreading of coronavirus infection. The latest gathering restrictions can be found on the website of Regional State Administrative Agencies:

The regional coronavirus prevention task force of Southwest Finland recommends that private events involving more than 20 people should not be organized indoors from 19 October onwards because of the acceleration of the pandemic.

Are local buses operating?

Föli buses run operate as normal. Using a face mask in public transport is recommended.

More information can be found on the Föli website

Can I travel abroad?

The coronavirus situation varies by country. The situation is closesly monitored in Finland and the national guidelines change depending on circumstances. Please keep an eye on the national recommendations found on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Non-essential travel to countries where the coronavirus epidemic hasn't subsided is not recommended.

When I return from abroad how long do I have to stay at home?

When you return to Finland from abroad, you must self-isolate for 10 days. An alterantive for self-isolation is getting tested for coronavirus twice, with 72 hours in between. If you would like to reduce the duration of self-isolation in this way after your arrival in Finland, you must get tested at your health station, through occupational health or by calling the coronavirus helpline, tel. +358 2 266 2714 (from 8 am to 3 pm on weekdays).

More information on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs:

Why haven’t everyone arriving from Skopje to Turku by plane been tested? Is it possible to refuse being tested?

There are no grounds on the basis of national legislation to require people arriving in Turku/Finland from Skope to have a certificate proving a negative coronavirus test result.

Testing is offered for all passengers. Getting tested is voluntary by law but recommended.

The testing of passengers arriving in Turku from Skopje started on 8 August. Some passengers have not been tested for certain reasons – for instance, testing very young children is difficult. It is not possible to specify these reasons because of data protection.

How is a person ordered into quarantine monitored? Who is responsible for monitoring?

The decision on quarantine is always made by the municipal Chief Physician for Infectious Diseases. In Turku, quarantine is monitored by calling from Infectious Diseases Monitoring.  

How soon will those who have tested positive be contacted? What measures are taken after a positive test result?

Those who have been tested for coronavirus are contacted by phone as soon as the test result is ready. Persons who have a coronavirus infection are also given more specific instructions for quarantine, for keeping an eye on their symptoms and for seeking further care if necessary. Those who have tested positive for coronavirus are also asked about where they may have caught the infection and who may have been exposed.

Does quarantine also apply to staff on planes?

Quarantine does not apply to plane staff who have only visited the airport of the country of destination.

Where will a person stay if they are ordered into quarantine after travel?

A person in quarantine can stay home. In quarantine, it is acceptable to get fresh air outside but going to work, school, day care, stores or other public facilities is forbidden. Other family members can carry on their everyday life as normal. 

Why are passengers who arrived on the flight allowed to go home by bus?

According to the latest instructions, a person who has been ordered into quarantine can use public transport for essential affairs if they wear a face mask. Essential affairs include, for instance, a medical appointment or going from the airport directly to home for quarantine. A person who is in quarantine cannot go to work, early childhood education and care, stores or other public facilities. 

Is it safe to take a bus stopping at the airport? 

Keeping safety distances in buses is difficult particularly during rush hours. Using a face mask is recommended for all passengers. Please see the instructions given by Turku region public transport Föli for safe travel:

•    Do not travel if you are ill.
•    Wear a face mask when travelling by bus.
•    Remember to keep the safety distance. If possible, keep more distance to other passengers than usual at bus stops, inside the bus and when getting on the bus.
•    Pay your journey using a travel card or a ticket purchased using the Föli app. Load a travel card online.
•    If possible, travel outside rush hours (rush hours are between 7 am and 9 am as well as between 2 pm and 5 pm). Usually the most crowded buses include buses heading to the city centre of Turku in the morning and buses heading away from the city centre in the afternoon. 
•    Take care of hygiene by washing your hands often. There is hand sanitizer available on Föli buses.

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