The coronavirus pandemic required us to repurpose and re-equip facilities at a rapid pace and to undertake extensive modifications in our hospital properties.

The first thing we needed was more testing points. We quickly set up drive-in sampling tents at the Meilahti and Hyvinkää hospital campuses and later added more sampling facilities at other locations.

From the start of the pandemic, it was obvious that we would have to prepare to increase our intensive care capacity, and we set up additional bed capacity. The quickest way to do this was to convert operating rooms and recovery rooms into intensive care facilities. This allowed us to add intensive care beds at Jorvi Hospital, which is where we admitted the first coronavirus patients who required intensive care.

At the end of March, we began to make plans for converting the entire Surgical Hospital into a facility for inpatient care and intensive care of coronavirus patients. This required measures such as an overhaul of hospital gas outlets, ventilation adjustment and additional electrical outlets. To balance this, we arranged facilities for functions evicted from the Surgical Hospital, mostly at Meilahti. Coronavirus patient care at the Surgical Hospital began on April 9, 2020.

Template for backup hospital built underground

In the spring, we set up and equipped a specimen backup hospital in section C of the P2 underground car park at Meilahti. This was the result of an extensive joint effort with a tight turnaround. We installed new hospital gas pipelines, upgraded the ventilation to hospital standard and improved the water pipes and drains. Once these preparations were made, we set up three tents to demonstrate a backup hospital facility, jointly with the Finnish Red Cross, who had rented the tents.

We created this template for a backup hospital within one month, and it would have been possible to set up an entire backup hospital in a couple of weeks by replicating the specimen facilities. The underground car park could accommodate 30 tents for patients, personnel and supplies. There would be about 150 beds for inpatient care or intensive care. We did not need to deploy the backup hospital in 2020.