Current information about Covid-19 for the employer
Booster vaccinations for the Covid-19 will start at Terveystalo on January 25th, 2023 in Helsinki and as soon as possible also in Jyväskylä, Oulu, Tampere and Turku. On this page, you will also find a summary for the employer about how to take the Covid-19 into account at the workplace, Covid-19 testing and vaccinations, and how to act in exceptional circumstances.
- Changes related to Kela compensations
- Sick leave policies and instructions for the sick employee
- Applying for infectious disease allowance from 2023
Covid-19 in brief
Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, fatigue, runny nose, nausea or diarrhea. Changes in the sense of smell and taste are typical for Covid-19 infection. Some infected people can also get pneumonia. Most of the people who get sick with the coronavirus only get mild symptoms, and the disease gets better on its own with home treatment. Some people may be completely asymptomatic. However, the disease can develop into a dangerous condition, especially for people who have a weakened general condition due to underlying diseases. Some of those affected by the Covid-19 infection suffer from symptoms that limit their quality of life and ability to work for a considerable time after the actual acute infection has healed (the so-called long covid), which may even become a significant public health problem in the near future. Therefore, all measures to reduce and prevent infections are still important.
Vaccinations in occupational health
There is still no cure for the Covid-19 infection, but the spread of the disease can be prevented with vaccinations. If the Covid-19 vaccination is included in the occupational health contract, regardless of the place of residence, all healthy and risk groups over 18 years of age who have had at least two previous Covid-19 vaccinations or one vaccination and one Covid-19 infection can receive a booster vaccine at Terveystalo. Prerequisite is, that at least 3 months must have passed since the previous booster vaccination, or at least 3 months have passed since the previous illness, confirmed by a Covid-19 test performed at home or in a laboratory. People in risk groups can also get the vaccine free of charge from public health care.
Terveystalo starts Covid-19 vaccination on January 25th, 2023 in Helsinki and as soon as possible also in Jyväskylä, Oulu, Tampere and Turku. You can find up-to-date information about Terveystalo's vaccination locations on our website.
For booster vaccinations, Terveystalo uses a vaccine tailored to variants of the coronavirus, which is widely available in Finland and Europe. All of these booster vaccines expand the immunological basis of vaccine protection and prevent severe Covid-19 disease very effectively. THL does not prefer any booster over another and has informaed, that all booster vaccines used in Finland can be used equally as booster doses.
In Terveystalo, vaccination work is carried out by both occupational health nurses and nurses to ensure effective vaccination. In individual cases, this may mean moving other functions of occupational health forward a little. However, statutory activities are prioritized and implemented within the set deadlines.
Make it possible for your staff to get vaccinated at Terveystalo without extra delay
Add corona vaccination to your organization's occupational health agreement by filling out the form found on our website at www.terveystalo.com/koronarokotuslupa (in Finnish).
Kela reimburses the costs incurred by the employer for vaccination in occupational health care compensation class 1, when the vaccinator is an occupational health nurse. As of January 1, 2022, the compensation according to the Health Insurance Act is €16/visit when the vaccinator is a nurse. The validity period of the compensation decision has been extended until June 30, 2023.
The corona vaccinations given at Terveystalo are also transferred to the Omakanta service and appear in the national and EU joint corona vaccination certificate. From February 2022, EU countries will accept the corona vaccination certificate only 9 months after the second vaccine. After the third vaccine, there is no restriction on validity.
Covid-19 testing for companies and organizations
With Terveystalo, you ensure that your workplace and working methods are as safe as possible, even in exceptional circumstances. We support your company in all the different stages of epidemic management; if symptoms or infections occur, we will test and take care of the employee's good care.
In monitoring and controlling the epidemic, it is essential that there is sufficient testing capacity, and that the delay from suspected infection to testing and the result is as short as possible. In this way, confirmed positive test results can be notified as quickly as possible and the chains of infection can be traced.
Terveystalo has plenty of Covid-19 testing stations all over Finland. The test result is typically ready within 12-24 hours of sampling, depending on the location. You can also easily aquire Covid-19 tests for a larger group from us.
You don't have to be an occupational health customer of Terveystalo to get a quote.
More about our Covid-19 testing services for companies and organizations (in Finnish)
Coronavirus testing at Terveystalo
Patients coming for Covid-19 testing are directed to Terveystalo's sampling points through our remote services.
- Based on a doctor's assessment, patients with symptoms of infection suitable for the disease (e.g. fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea) can receive a referral for a Covid-19 test at Terveystalo. Terveystalo can also test completely symptom-free people in connection with suspected epidemics and when examining the immediate circle of a confirmed infected person or for the certificate needed for e.g. travel.
- Asymptomatic occupational health clients can also get a referral for a test from an occupational health nurse and from the referral service for an asymptomatic person in the Terveystalo application. A person with symptoms must always be referred by a doctor so that the testing entitles them to Kela compensation.
- The occupational health doctor responsible for the customer can, at his own discretion, agree with the company on testing the entire company's personnel based on a risk assessment, regardless of the personnel's symptoms. The purpose of the testing is to find asymptomatic carriers of the disease in the personnel.
- Some countries require a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival in the country, so that the authorities have the opportunity to control the infection situation in the country. Up-to-date information on the requirements of different countries can be found on the IATA website. Anyone who needs such a certificate can take a test at Terveystalo. The certificate serves as official proof of the person's fitness to travel. The decision to accept the certificate is always made by the airline or the authority of each country.
- Some countries also require a certificate of health status for airworthiness (the so-called Fit2Fly certificate). Terveystalo's doctor can prepare such a certificate.
- At Terveystalo, through occupational health, Covid-19 testing for a family member is also possible. If, as an employer, you want to offer your employees testing of a family member in order to shorten the stay-at-home parent's absence from work, it can be done with the help of an invoicing contract. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The testing criteria are updated according to the situation and in the testing at Terveystalo, the official instructions valid at any given time are followed.
The Covid-19 PCR test and antibody test are Kela-reimbursable for the employer from April 1, 2020. From the beginning of 2021, the Kela compensation for the PCR test has been €100/test and for the antigen test €36/test. The increased Kela compensation will be paid until June 30, 2023. In occupational health, compensation is paid primarily from medical insurance instead of income insurance, and a person living or working in Finland is entitled to it.
Read more about coronavirus testing at Terveystalo
Variants of the Covid-19
Terveystalo delivers positive samples to THL for sequencing in accordance with the national guidelines given by THL. Examining variants is part of epidemic control and monitoring, not patient diagnostics, and finding a virus variant does not change the treatment of the patient, the length of isolation or the quarantine of those exposed.
THL will deliver the information about the possible variant to the infectious disease unit of the above patient's municipality, and in the future THL will also deliver the information about the possible variant to the laboratory, which will allow Terveystalok to receive this information.
We follow national guidelines on how we convey information about a possible variant to the patient. The information is always the patient's personal health information, and thus we cannot pass it on to the employer without the patient's written permission.
Covid-19 home test kits
If your organization uses Covid-19 home tests, please remember that a positive home test result does not entitle you to an infectious disease allowance, but for this you always need a test result verified by healthcare.
We recommend that people who get a positive result in the home test agree with the employer that they will remain in isolation for the duration of the isolation, in accordance with THL's recommendation. If you want to confirm the infection with a PCR test, you can apply for an official Covid-19 test through occupational health, if the employer has agreed on testing at Terveystalo.
A positive home test result is not recorded as a Covid-19 diagnosis in occupational health, and the disease is therefore not shown in the official Covid-19 certificate. If a positive home test result is recorded in the medical record at Terveystalo, the diagnosis code U07.2 - Suspicion of COVID-19 virus infection, not confirmed by laboratory test is used according to THL instructions.
A positive home test result with no symptoms does not cause the need for sick leave, as a sick leave certificate can only be written in healthcare in accordance with the Health Insurance Act on the basis of (illness-caused) incapacity for work.
Quarantine, isolation and infectious disease allowance
If an employee is placed in quarantine or isolation due to his own or a contact's Covid-19 infection, he has the opportunity to apply for infectious disease allowance. If Kela grants an employee an infectious disease daily allowance due to quarantine or isolation, the daily allowance is paid to the employer to the extent that the employer has paid the employee a salary for the period of absence. The amount of the infectious disease daily allowance corresponds to the full loss of earnings, and receiving the daily allowance does not require a deductible period.
As of January 1, 2023, receiving the infectious disease daily allowance requires a decision made by the doctor responsible for infectious diseases in the municipality or hospital district. Thus, you can no longer receive infectious disease allowance on the basis of a certificate written by another doctor, nurse or occupational health nurse, for example from Terveystalo. The retroactive application period for daily allowance will also be shortened from the current 6 months to 2 months. The change is based on the fact that the temporary legislation of the Health Insurance Act affecting the infectious disease daily allowance expires on 31 December 2022.
In Terveystalo, an infectious disease certificate can only be written for a corona infection contracted or started in 2022, which has led to absence from work and loss of earnings. For absences that started no later than 31 December 2022, the retroactive application period for daily allowance is still 6 months. As a rule, we direct people who need a certificate to Nurse Chat, as the chatbot created for the certificate will be decommissioned in January 2023.
In the Nurse Chat, the nurse collects the information and writes a certificate for the infectious disease daily allowance and delivers it to each person only to the Terveystalo user interface (the Messages section of the Terveystalo-app or the My transactions of the webpages "Use online services" section). The certificate written by the nurse does not go directly to Kela, but the employee must deliver the certificate either to the employer or to Kela as agreed in the company. The certificate itself is free of charge, but the work used to make the certificate is a medical care service, the cost of which to the employer is 30 euros.
An official quarantine or isolation decision cannot be overturned by the employer's own instructions or by agreement with the employee.
It is worth noting that even during quarantine and isolation, it is often possible to do remote work, if your health allows it. In this case, you should not apply for infectious disease allowance, because there will be no loss of earnings. You can find more information about the infectious disease daily allowance in Kela's instructions.
On THL's website, you can find up-to-date information on the recommendations given to municipalities regarding quarantine. The recommendations take into account vaccinations and previous coronavirus infection. Check out the instructions here.
It is a good idea for the employer to instruct his staff on how to act when symptoms appear and how to act if the person receives information about possible exposure. If an employee suspects that he has contracted a contagious disease, he must definitely be asked to stay at home and report his absence to a supervisor by phone. If you suspect an infection, you should not go directly to the doctor's or nurse's office on the spot without prior consultation.
We recommend our customers to implement the "own notification to supervisor" policy during the epidemic, if it is not already in use. For those with a positive result in the Covid-19 test, it would be recommended to accept the absence by self-report for the duration of the isolation period (5-10 days).
If a person suspects or has been diagnosed with a Covid-19 infection or has any symptoms of respiratory infection, they can book an appointment to Terveystalo remote services or at one of our clinics. We hope that, if necessary, employers would accept sick leave certificates of nurses and doctors issued via remote connection, video reception or chat during the epidemic, so that writing sick leave certificates for people with mild symptoms would not burden healthcare resources.
In addition to this, we ask employers to avoid requesting certificates from occupational health care for the absences of asymptomatic persons (so-called "certificate that I am healthy"), as it burdens the health care system in a situation where appointments are needed for sick people.
If you suspect infection, do this
As an occupational health customer of Terveystalo, please contact us primarily through the Doctor chat 24/7 remote service, if remote receptions are included in your occupational health contract.
Read more detailed operating instructions for a patient with respiratory symptoms
Remote transaction, Terveystalo application and online appointment booking
During the Covid-19 epidemic, it is important that companies allow the use of remote services (nurse and doctor chat service) in the occupational health agreement. Doctor chats and Nurse chats are open around the clock without an appointment. In addition, companies are served by video receptions.
We recommend our client companies to make sure that they also have online appointment booking. In this way, the appointment can also be directed to an online appointment.
Personnel should be instructed to download the Terveystalo application and meet with Terveystalo experts through it. In the application, the employee can communicate with occupational health securely through the Messages function, or contact a remote doctor if the company has included this in the occupational health contract.
The application can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You can register for the service either with bank or mobile identification.
More information about remote services
Sickness and absences
The symptoms caused by the Covid-19 are typical flu symptoms. Seasonal influenza and other flu viruses have been circulating in abundance since early winter, when flu symptoms can also be caused by something other than the coronavirus. However, based on the symptoms, it is not possible to conclude whether it is a coronavirus infection or another disease.
Symptoms of those infected with the coronavirus have included fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pains, fatigue, runny nose, nausea or diarrhea. Disturbances in the sense of taste and smell can also be a symptom.
Sick leave is not recorded
- for an asymptomatic person, even if the test result is positive. If a person has been diagnosed with Covid-19 infection by PCR test, but he is asymptomatic, he should voluntarily avoid contacts outside the home or be in home isolation for 5 days after the sampling.
- exposed asymptomatic persons who should monitor their own health.
A patient with mild symptoms can be ill at home
Patients with mild symptoms are recommended to voluntarily avoid contact outside the home until he has been
- symptom-free for 2 days, i.e. 48 hours and
- at least 5 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
If symptoms still occur after 5 days, the patient should stay at home until he has been symptom-free for at least 2 days, i.e. 48 hours.
Instructions for combating Covid-19 infection
Corona viruses are spread from one person to another, especially via respiratory secretions as a droplet or aerosol infection. The greatest risk of infection arises when an infected person coughs or sneezes into the surrounding environment. Infection can also be possible as a contact infection through surfaces. Coughing and hand hygiene are important to avoid infections.
- Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often and carefully with warm water and liquid soap for at least 20 seconds, e.g. every time you come to work, before eating, smoking, sniffing and when you leave your work.
- If washing with water and liquid soap is not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, unless your work instructs you to behave differently.
- When using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, take an amount at one time that you can rub all over your hands.
- If you use disposable protective gloves at work, take them off without touching the outer surface of the gloves. Wash hands after removing protective gloves.
- Do not touch your face in the mouth and nose area with protective gloves or dirty hands.
- If you cough or sneeze, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or your sleeve, not your palm. Put the tissue in the trash immediately.
- Using a mouth-nose cover is one way to prevent infections. The mask should be used in situations where keeping sufficient distances is not possible. The riskiest places are, for example, public transport, where you are close to each other for long periods of time. The use of protective equipment at workplaces is based on the employer's risk assessment. Considering the Covid-19, the primary risk management measures are organizing work in a new way and taking care of safety intervals, hygiene and good ventilation.
Rapid identification of virus infection is important in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
The information on this page corresponds to the situation and the authorities' instructions as of December 9, 2022. Actively follow THL's website, which contains up-to-date additional information about the Covid-19, the epidemic situation and instructions for combating infection.