Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has updated its recommendations for the care and testing of children and youngsters with possible Covid-19 symptoms.
School-age children and teenagers should be immediately tested for coronavirus if they show possible symptoms, even mild ones, the institute said in new guidelines issued on Friday.
On the other hand, children under school age should be kept home for a couple of days for observation if their symptoms are mild.
According to the THL, a preschool-age child’s symptoms are considered mild if he or she is alert and has enough energy to play despite possible congestion, cough and fever.
Other possible Covid-19 symptoms include a sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea. More information is available on the THL website.
The institute says that a child with even mild symptoms should not be sent to school or daycare. The only exception is a runny nose or sneezing that is clearly related to allergies or outdoor activity and is not accompanied by any other symptoms.
40 exposure incidents at schools, but little spread
Emmi Sarvikivi, a Senior Medical Officer at THL, tells Yle says that the instructions are basically the same as before, but that it is necessary to emphasise that youngsters of school age should be tested even if their symptoms seem mild.
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Sarvikivi says that earlier guidelines were followed too loosely, and that many children with symptoms have attended school.
Since this school year began about a month ago, the THL has tracked more than 40 cases where infected people have exposed others at daycare centres and schools. More than 1,700 people have been quarantined, but few transmissions of infection have been found among those exposed.
“The first follow-up data from schools suggest that infected and exposed pupils are very well identified. As in spring 2020, there have been few further infections to date,” says Sarvikivi.