Up-do-date situational awareness, quick decision-making and broad-based cooperation are the cornerstones of our management of the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, HUS has been managed as a single entity.
Our first meeting specifically about the coronavirus was held on February 26. The preparedness managers met on March 2, and the Pandemic Coordination Group was established on March 5. Initially, the Pandemic Coordination Group (consisting of the directors of all departments, all hospital areas and the Helsinki University Hospital Area and experts) met every weekday. The pandemic affected each and every function of HUS, and because of this it was important for the broad-based Pandemic Coordination Group to meet frequently to update the situational awareness and to discuss the decisions that needed to be made. Also, a briefing for the Helsinki University Hospital Specific Catchment Area was held every weekday morning to review the situation in the HUS member municipalities and in the Specific Catchment Area.
When the situation calmed down, meetings of the Pandemic Coordination Group were scheduled less frequently, and a smaller sub-group, the Pandemic Coordination Group task force, was set up in parallel. In the course of the year, the Pandemic Coordination Group met 59 times, and the task force met 98 times.
HUS was managed as a single entity through the Pandemic Coordination Group. The escalation plan, regularly updated, specifies in which units coronavirus patients are to be cared for, depending on the number of patients admitted. The aim all along has been also to ensure care for patients other than coronavirus patients.
Historical decision on full preparedness
For the first time in its history, HUS went into full preparedness mode by decision of the CEO on March 19. In accordance with our preparedness directive, full preparedness is to be adopted when society at large prepares to deal with a serious disruption or with a state of emergency as defined in the Emergency Powers Act.
When the pandemic receded, the preparedness level was lowered to enhanced preparedness on May 29. We again went to full preparedness on November 23, due to the growing number of coronavirus cases and patients. The CEO delegated pandemic response leadership to the Chief Medical Officer and, for the purposes of reorganizing hospital capacity and reassigning personnel, to the Medical Director of Disasters.
National and regional cooperation
We have been cooperating with a variety of parties throughout the pandemic. We have convened meetings of the following:
- Hospital districts in the Helsinki University Hospital Specific Catchment Area
- Local authorities and private sector representatives from Uusimaa. In September, this group was converted into a regional coordination group as required by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, with the duty to coordinate the official response in the region.
- Coordination group for testing at border crossing points in the Helsinki University Hospital Specific Catchment Area
- National coordination group for material preparedness
- Infectious disease units in municipalities in the HUS area
HUS has also participated in the following:
- Meetings of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the National Institute for Health and Welfare and Chief Medical Officers of university hospitals
- National intensive care coordination group
- National cooperation group on health security at border crossing points
- Helsinki metropolitan area coronavirus coordination group
- COVID pandemic and modelling group
- Cooperation group of the National Institute for Health and Welfare and hospital districts
- Preparedness committee of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland
- Advisory Board on Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
- Advisory Board for Health and Welfare in Emergency Conditions at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health