Local authorities are responsible for contact tracing and the quarantining of infected persons. HUS coordinates, instructs and supports the local authorities in these efforts and provides consultation.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused an extensive workload in contact tracing for the HUS Epidemiological Unit and for the local authorities. The purpose of contact tracing is to identify persons exposed to infection as early as possible. Contact tracing is one of the cornerstones of Finland’s coronavirus strategy.

In the early days of the pandemic, we handled everything from sampling, providing instructions to infected persons and contact tracing; towards the end of March, the local authorities gradually took over the advisory services for infected persons and responsibility for contact tracing.

In March, the coordinating physicians at the HUS Epidemiological Unit and at the communicable diseases units of the local authorities recognized that regionally consistent procedures were needed to contain the further spread of the pandemic. In May, coordinated by HUS IT Management, a contact tracing and monitoring software service named HAAVI was released for the joint use of municipalities in Uusimaa and HUS. Development is still ongoing, and the contact tracing bot in this service will also be of importance in the monitoring of other communicable diseases in the future.

HAAVI facilitates a common pool of information

The medical details of persons tested for coronavirus are transmitted to sampling in real time from the control bot, from the Coronabot accessible by private individuals and from the booking service, and test results are transmitted from the laboratory system to communicable disease units in municipalities for their contact tracing. The contact tracing bot in the HAAVI sofware service facilitates a common pool of information for the hospital district and the municipalities for contact tracing of persons exposed to a coronavirus infection.

Details of persons infected and exposed are transmitted to the agenda of the communicable disease units in their respective municipalities of domicile or residence. In the monitoring and reporting view, each local authority can see what the current situation is in their municipality, while the hospital district view shows a real-time snapshot of infection sources and superspreader events, which the hospital district needs for coordinating efforts across multiple municipalities.

In 2020, nearly 21,750 coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the HUS area and nearly 100,000 exposed people were quarantined. There were about 2,000 superspreader events (more than 10 people exposed).