Sweden increasing nursing home staff amid spike in elderly COVID-19 deaths

Sweden increasing nursing home staff amid spike in elderly COVID-19 deaths
© getty:People enjoy the warm spring weather at Hornstull in Stockholm during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

Sweden's government announced Tuesday that it will ramp up nursing home staff amid a spike in new coronavirus cases threatening the lives of elderly residents.

Sweden will spend nearly 2.2 billion kronor ($220 million) to bring in additional medical staff to protect vulnerable nursing home residents, according to Bloomberg.

The government also reportedly plans to offer an additional 2 billion kronor to local authorities to cover costs incurred during the widespread coronavirus outbreak.

ADVERTISEMENT

Half of the people over 70 years of age who have had fatal COVID-19 infections in Sweden lived in nursing homes, data show, Bloomberg noted, adding that the nation has reported a total of 3,256 deaths stemming from the coronavirus.

Throughout the global pandemic, Sweden has avoided shutting down its economy and imposing forced social-distancing measures, allowing its residents to continue their lives without restrictions.

Anders Tegnell, Sweden's chief epidemiologist, said last month that temporary lockdowns imposed due to COVID-19 would likely backfire, and advocated for moderate restrictions.

Sweden has reported death rates linked to the novel coronavirus of around 32 per 100,000. In the U.S., the rate approximately 24 in 100,000, Bloomberg noted.

Denmark, a neighbor of Sweden that has imposed lockdowns and began lifting them in phases in mid-April, has recorded death rates as low as 9 per 100,000. Denmark is beginning to reopen shops, with movie theaters and museums soon to follow.