Catalonia pushes to break Covid-19 chains of infection with self-tests
Health officials say self-administered PCRs are ‘very simple to perform,’ with results available within one to three days
Health authorities in Catalonia have begun to provide certain segments of the population with self-tests as part of mass screenings to stop coronavirus infection chains.
The screening targets people under 60 or 70 years old (the age can vary from region to region) who have not been vaccinated nor contracted the virus over the previous three months. Results are available online within 24 to 72 hours.
"The idea, just as with any screenings, is to detect people who are infected with Covid but have no symptoms and who don’t know that they have the disease. This way, we can order them to stay home and stop chains of infection," said Ester Fages, a health official in the northern region of Girona.
The difference between regular PCR tests and other methods to detect the virus is that self-tests do not require medical workers to obtain the samples from patients, and therefore they put less strain on the health system.
The Girona health region manager, Miquel Carreras, told the Catalan News Agency that self-tests are "safe, quick, and easy to use," and can be of great help when it comes to stopping transmission chains.
Catalan authorities are currently carrying out mass self-test screenings in the regions of Girona, Lleida, as well as the central Catalonia area.
People can get their own self-test kit at the CAP primary care center that consists of a plastic bag with a tiny nostril swab. After a sample has been collected, the swab must be kept inside a plastic tube and brought back to the CAP no more than 30 minutes later.