Private labs join the coronavirus testing

Sampling sites to be established in front of all hospitals.

Testing the samples in Medirex.Testing the samples in Medirex. (Source: TASR)

Coronavirus testing should change significantly as of Friday, March 27.

While currently there are some 300-400 samples tested every day, this number is expected to increase significantly due to the involvement of private labs. The ambition is to test as many as 3,000 samples a day soon, PM Igor Matovič told the press on March 26.

Peter Lednický of the Slovak Laboratories Association said that the private labs can carry out some 1,200 tests a day, with that number projected to increase. Next week, there may be as many as 2,000 tests, he added.

Experts consider the mass taking of samples and their testing the best weapon against the coronavirus disease, the Sme daily reported.

New sampling sites

The system of taking samples will also change. There should be a sampling site established in front of every hospital. Until now, the samples have been taken by just three or four hospitals, Matovič said.

The sampling sites will be established not only by the state and private labs, but also the army, according to Sme.

Moreover, the private labs should secure the collection for all labs, regardless of them being state or private.

The private labs will receive €48 for taking and testing a sample. This price includes collection and transport to the labs, Sme wrote.

People will be notified of both positive and negative results. This information will also go to general practitioners.

“We want trained people to notify of a positive result,” Matovič said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Testing of risk groups will start

Related articleDespite a daily capacity of 1,000, only 300 tests are being carried out Read more 

The samples will be taken only from people suspected of being infected upon identification by doctor.

Testing of individuals without symptoms has been suggested by several private labs, including Alpha Medical and Medirex. This is not an option for now, though.

At the same time, the state will launch coordinated mass testing of all risk groups in order to reveal the potential infection as soon as possible, said Health Minister Marek Krajčí of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO).

“We need to test medical staff and people who need to undergo urgent surgery,” he said, as quoted by TASR.

Currently, only people who met the criteria have been tested, and they had to wait for the results for several days. One of the reasons was that the responders lacked protective equipment, according to Matovič.

Chief hygienist Ján Mikas expects that after these changes come into force, the waiting time will shorten and the capacity of tested samples will increase, TASR reported.

Red zones to be established

The so-called red zones in hospitals where patients positively diagnosed with the coronavirus will be treated, will very likely be ready in seven days, Krajčí said.

While in Bratislava there will be pavilion blocks, in Košice it will be one hospital and in Martin two pavilions.

“We will adjust to the situation,” Krajčí said, as quoted by TASR, adding they may be gradually extended.

No sanctions for not wearing the masks yet

No sanctions have been given so far for violating the order to wear masks outside one’s home, Mikas said.

“We’ve adopted measures to make people realise how important it is to wear a mask,” he added, as quoted by TASR. “If the number violating these measures increases, we’ll find ways to sanction these people.”

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