Thursday, March 4, 2021

Tests to covid-19. Schools, prisons and homes will be screened every 15 days

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Educational establishments with secondary school students, prisons and other places considered “high social exposure”, such as factories and civil construction, in municipalities with more than 480 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants will be tested every two weeks.

According to the TSF, which advances the news this Friday, the counties with more than 480 cases of covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days will have regular laboratory tests of covid-19, with rapid tests, in schools with students from secondary education, prisons and other places considered “high social exposure”, namely factories and civil construction.

Other institutions supporting or welcoming the most vulnerable populations will also be subject to periodic screening of residents, users and professionals: nursing homes, Units of the National Network of Continuous care Social Services, Host Social Institutions or Social Support and the Migrant Reception Centers and Refugees.

These latter cases, however, will not be restricted to municipalities with more than 480 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days.

The frequency of previous tests should be every two weeks.

These news were published by the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) in the new National Testing Strategy for SARS-CoV-2.

DGS has published the standard that extends testing to covid-19 to all contacts, including performing molecular tests on low-risk “at the time of identification” of the contact.

According to the standard for the screening of contacts in the context of the pandemic of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, which takes effect at 12:00 am on the next Monday, the 15th, “low-risk contacts must carry out a test for SARS- CoV-2 (molecular tests) at the moment of contact identification ”.

The document also explains that “in situations of cluster or outbreak all contacts ”must do“ laboratory test for SARS-CoV-2 (rapid antigen tests), as early as possible, which can be repeated sequentially, under the coordination of health authorities ”.

The entity supervised by Graça Freitas explained that, “taking into account the current epidemiological situation, either due to the emergence” of strains detected in other countries and that, meanwhile, they have already spread throughout Portugal, or due to the “decrease in the daily incidence” of infections, DGS would update the guidelines.

The extension of the use of laboratory tests to all contacts (high and low risk), the widespread availability of rapid antigen tests (TRAg) in the health units of the National Health Service (SNS), and the implementation of regular screenings with TRAg in schools and particularly exposed sectors of activity (factory workers, construction workers, among others) will be promoted.

The Directorate-General for Health added that the use of TRAg has been “progressively expanded”, both at the level of the places where TRAg can be performed, “and at the level of professionals who can perform them”.

On the same day, the Minister of Health defended the need for massive testing and did not rule out the possibility of doing free trials.

“We fully accompany the need to massively use tests, from PCR tests, to rapid antigen tests, to saliva tests that are also available, regardless of the recommendations we recently received,” said Marta Temido at the Health Commission, at the Assembly of the Republic.

Maria Campos Maria Campos, ZAP // Lusa

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