The cluster of coronavirus cases detected mid-September at Rauma Marine Constructions’ (RMC) shipyard in Rauma has been brought under control. The cluster was detected early on during the company’s own random testing, allowing the containment of the situation in under a month. The Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) has ordered the City of Rauma to conduct mandatory health inspections at the shipyard, the practical implications of which will be clarified in the near future.
The first cases of the September infection cluster at Rauma shipyard were detected through RMC’s own random testing of asymptomatic personnel on 17 September. In cooperation with the infectious disease authorities, RMC immediately extended random testing to those who had been working with the infected parties. Due to the division of the workforce into smaller teams, as outlined in the company’s updated safety plan, these individuals were quickly located.
During the following days, additional cases were reported during testing conducted by RMC, resulting in RMC and the health authorities of the City of Rauma deciding to implement extended additional testing to everyone working on the ship currently under construction. Nearly 1,000 tests were conducted, and part of the personnel were tested twice or more. Fully vaccinated individuals were also tested.
The number of cases at the shipyard started to decline last week, after which RMC has continued the random testing already implemented last spring. The situation has remained calm: no new cases have been reported among some hundred random tests conducted this ongoing week.
During the past week, four new cases have been detected in individuals placed in quarantine. Since 17 September, a total of 217 infections have been reported.
The practical implications of the Regional State Administrative Agency’s order to be clarified in the upcoming days
The Regional State Administrative Agencies have in the past weeks ordered mandatory health inspections for several shipyards. On 13 October, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southwestern Finland obligated the City of Rauma to conduct mandatory health inspections concerning RMC, the company’s subsidiaries, and subcontractors.
According to AVI, correct measures have already been taken at the Rauma shipyard that have positively impacted the current situation. According to the Regional State Administrative Agency the order is intended to support the positive development.
Ville Laaksonen, Chief Operating Officer at Rauma Marine Constructions, considers the decision from the past week legitimate in the current situation.
”During the past weeks, the coronavirus situation has escalated in several countries, as well as at Finland’s major shipyards. This means that there is a clear need for joint policies. However, we are also pleased that the Regional State Administrative Agency has taken notice of the extensive coronavirus safety measures RMC has already implemented since spring. The measures allowed the coronavirus situation to remain calm for months before this autumn’s cases.”
According to Laaksonen, the exact, practical implications of the order by the Regional State Administrative Agency have not been fully clarified, but the guidelines have been set.
“The Regional State Administrative Agency has issued the order to the City of Rauma, meaning we will continue to advance the matter in close cooperation with them and the health authorities. Among other things, there are plans to further expand testing and require new employees to have received a full series of vaccinations. We will also continue to organise vaccination possibilities at a low-threshold at the shipyard together with the City of Rauma.”