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YIT piloted COVID-19 mobile testing at a construction site – rapid action immediately led to the trace of the virus

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YIT CORPORATION Press Release, March 23, 2021 at 2.00 p.m.

Preventing the spread of mutated virus variants requires preventive action, constant awareness and new tools that can be adopted quickly. After COVID-19 smell detection dogs marked positive samples from a construction site, YIT quickly moved to pilot an on-site mobile PCR testing station in cooperation with Mehiläinen. 

YIT uses COVID-19 smell detection dogs on high-risk sites, which are typically either large or diverse. When dogs succeed, they can identify COVID-19 positive samples at an early stage. On Thursday, March 18, 2021, COVID-19 detection dogs marked positive samples at a site in Helsinki. Since the screening by COVID-19 detection dogs does not replace laboratory testing, YIT quickly established a mobile on-site mass testing station in cooperation with Mehiläinen to assess the infection situation by PCR testing. The testing confirmed the dog’s earlier findings in asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 infection. The site will remain closed for at least until the end of the week.  

“Piloting mobile testing at a construction site is a natural step after YIT’s COVID-19 smell detection dog pilot. Dogs are given anonymous face masks used at the construction site to sniff and if they mark them as COVID-19 positive, we believe it is justified to take further action without delay. By taking quick action and conducting this pilot, we want to broadly promote the prevention of COVID-19 in collaboration with other parties and support the health and safety of everyone who works at the shared construction site,” says Pii Raulo, EVP, Human Resources.  

Setting up the mobile testing was agile. The initiative was kicked off on Thursday and the mobile testing unit was put up at the construction site the following Monday. The mobile testing unit consists of a testing vehicle for collecting information and a tent where four sample-takers collect COVID-19 samples. Mehiläinen promises to produce the test results within about six hours.

“At locations that are significant for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to ensure smooth and quick testing. We will take samples quickly on-site in accordance with the agreed-upon schedule and the results will be delivered without delay. We will also conduct variant analysis on positive samples to ensure that potential new strains of the virus are quickly identified,” says Director Johanna Asklöf from Mehiläinen.

The aim is to create a quick and comprehensive testing model that suits large construction sites and reaches professionals employed by various employers in few hours. Mobile test capacity is available in the HUS region. It just needs to be mobilised quickly to support the preventive work conducted by worksites and officials.

Pii Raulo, EVP, Human Resources, hopes to see close cooperation and a quick and practical approach by all parties involved.

"We want to help keep the pandemic under control and we look forward to sharing our experiences of using COVID-19 smell detection dogs and this mobile testing initiative with the authorities, other construction companies and other interested parties. I hope these experiences will also prove useful in organising vaccinations, for example,” Raulo adds. 

A video of the on-site mobile PCR testing

For further information, please contact: 
Pii Raulo, EVP, Human Resources, YIT Corporation, 
tel. +358 (0)40 572 3568, pii.raulo@yit.fi 
Hanna Malmivaara, Senior Vice President, Group Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +358 (0)40 561 6568, hanna.malmivaara@yit.fi 
Johanna Asklöf, Director, Mehiläinen, tel. +358 (0)50 445 0502, johanna.asklof@mehilainen.fi 

YIT is the largest Finnish and a significant North European urban developer and construction company. We create more sustainable, functional and attractive cities and living environments. We develop and build apartments, business premises and entire areas. We also specialise in demanding infrastructure construction. We own properties together with our partners, which supports the implementation of our significant development projects. We also provide our customers with services that increase the value of properties. We employ about 7,400 professionals in 10 countries: Finland, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. In 2020, our revenue amounted to approximately EUR 3.1 billion. YIT Corporation's share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Oy. 

Mehiläinen Group is a well-known and highly valued private provider of healthcare and social services in Finland, offering comprehensive high-quality services quickly and smoothly to private, corporate, and municipal customers.  Mehiläinen provides help, support, and care for around 1,3 million customers annually. Mehiläinen’s services are produced at over 540 locations by more than 22,300 employees and private practitioners.