Management of the emergency response to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) outbreak in Stockholm, Sweden, and winter preparations.

Ohrling M, √ėvretveit J, Lockowandt U, Brommels M, Sparring V

J Prim Health Care 12 (3) 207-214 [2020-09-00; online 2020-09-30]

INTRODUCTION Sweden is unique in adopting a 'no-lockdown' public health approach to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) outbreak. There were fears that health services would not be able to care for high numbers of COVID-19 patients. AIM To describe and review the emergency response of a public primary and community health-care organisation in Stockholm, Sweden, to the demand for care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients during March-July 2020, and summarise preparations for the months to follow. METHODS This was a rapid implementation action research case study, which also draws on one author's experience as Chief Executive Officer and other members' experience in an emergency management group. RESULTS Sweden experienced similar mortality per million population to the UK, despite the different public health strategy used to address the COVID-19 outbreak. The Stockholm-integrated public primary and community health-care service, serving a population of 2.3 million, made many changes quickly. One change included coordinating non-acute private health-care services, following the local government emergency directive to do so. DISCUSSION It is possible that the fast and effective response by management and services in primary and community health care reduced infection and hospital demand, which contributed to a lower mortality than otherwise expected. The actions and preparations described for Stockholm's response may provide ideas for other health-care systems. The partnership research approach between the Karolinska Medical University and the Region Stockholm health-care system used in this project shows that rapid research methods have advantages for both partners in an emergency situation.

Type: Review

PubMed 32988442

DOI 10.1071/HC20082

Crossref 10.1071/HC20082

pii: HC20082

Publications 7.1.2