Self-test positives can now notify pharmacies, which will report cases to health system

Antigen tests done at home do not generate a recovery certificate, but can be used to ask for sick leave, if reported

A girl performing a self-test in a pharmacy, on December 28, 2021 (by Pol Solà)
A girl performing a self-test in a pharmacy, on December 28, 2021 (by Pol Solà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 3, 2022 10:57 AM

People who buy a Covid-19 antigen test to take at home will be able to log positive results with a pharmacy, which will then report cases to the health system.

This measure was announced on Monday morning by the Catalan health department and the Catalan pharmacies' association, in an effort to make sure the relevant authorities are aware of as many positive cases of Covid as possible. 

"It is not a replacement system, it is complementary," Catalan health service director, Gemma Craywinckel, said, emphasizing that anyone who feels the need to contact their local primary care center (CAP) or the 061 health service hotline can still do so.  

Yet, the president of the Catalan pharmacies association, Jordi Casas, confirmed that a positive result detected via an antigen self-test will not generate a Covid recovery certificate – EU guidelines establish that these certificates are only created after a positive PCR test, not antigen tests.

"This is not the aim of this new service," added Craywinckel.

Both said that the main goals of enabling pharmacies to gather positive results via tests done at home is to confirm the need to self-isolate, to allow the health system to get in touch with close contacts and enable people to ask for sick leave.

How new service will work

Those who have bought a self-test kit will be able – but not obliged – to report a positive result to any of the 1,300 pharmacies that are part of this system, which roughly accounts for half of all chemists.

This is especially recommended for asymptomatic people or those with mild symptoms – for more serious cases, people are advised to get in touch with the public health system.

Craywinckel asked the public to notify pharmacies of positive cases by phone rather than in person, in order to comply with self-isolation requirements and to avoid putting staff and others at risk.

She also said that the system is based on "trust," so there will not be any further way to prove a person has tested positive other than by them reporting it over the phone.

Yet, Casas explained that they will have to provide their ID number or CIP public health code, as well as the brand of the antigen test used.

Around 1,300 pharmacies are participating in the initiative, from all of Catalonia's four regions: Barcelona, Lleida and Girona, and Tarragona. For a list to the pharmacies adhered in the latter province, please visit this site:

Both officials made it clear that this is a "temporary" service, given the current exceptionally high incidence of the pandemic.