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Catalonia integrates pharmacies to perform PCR: the user will take the kit home and the sample will be extracted

The Minister of Health of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Alba Vergés, presented the new strategy of the department to accompany the Plan for easing restrictions arising from the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in which, among other measures, will be screened based on self-sampled PCR test kits that citizens can collect from Catalan pharmacies.

He explained this Friday during a press conference accompanied by the Secretary of Public Health, Josep Maria Argimon, who specified that the strategy includes three types of screening: the community, vulnerable people such as users of residences and specific groups such as health professionals.

The result of the PCR collected at the pharmacy will be obtained in 48 hours

The secretary explained that the strategy with the PCR self-sampling kits will have an organization similar to the screening carried out by Catalonia with colon cancer: the population will be informed by mail, that if they decide to participate, they will have to surrender to the pharmacy to collect the kit, it You will perform the PCR test yourself, return the kit to the pharmacy labeled as indicated in the letter to be analyzed in a laboratory and you will have the result in 48 hours.

As it follows the same strategy as colon cancer screening, the secretary defended its viability: “It is a logistics that we have already prepared and well validated for many years. We have tracing offices, we have the census loaded and we know how to send letters. ”

In this sense, Argimon explained that they will start sending letters in a month, which will start with the population of 50 years or more with the same sampling that they raised in the Catalan institutes, which “has no difficulty “and does not require any type of authorization for its deployment.

When asked if this strategy of PCR autosampler kits in pharmacies would have periodicity, Argimon ruled out this option and clarified that it would only be “once.”

They will “intensify” the tests in the residences

Another line of the department’s strategy is the screening of vulnerable groups such as users of Catalan residences, for which they will “intensify” the tests in residential settings, which will now have a weekly frequency.

In collaboration with the General Secretariat of Sports of the Generalitat, they will also begin to screen people aged 18 or over in sports clubs, as this is the area in which “the least diagnostic effort” has been made. and the one with the highest incidence of cases. In this sense, he explained that they will ask the clubs to have a person responsible for collecting the information of the people tested so that the traceability can be guaranteed and that the public has the results as well as the health professionals in the clinical history of the patient. .

Likewise, they will demand that there is someone who can take samples and Argimon stressed that these screenings will not be done to compete: “This does not give us false security, it is not for individual use. “, he warned.

On Monday, they will resume community screening in “high incidence areas”

On the other hand, Argimon announced that on Monday they will resume community screening “in areas with high incidence” of cases that will begin in the towns of Rubí and Terrassa (Barcelona) via the Banc de Sang i Teixits, which will take care of of all. the process.

“We will do this by trying to deploy the maximum number of people to reach the maximum number of people in a few days”, argued the secretary about these areas with the highest incidence of the pandemic.

In addition, the department’s strategy also includes a community screening in bright spots, that is to say that instead of carrying out a “large deployment” of people, it will be done with few people but at many points. as dispersed as possible in the geography of Catalonia. .

The department will continue to screen the population in schools of more than 300 people distributed in mobile teams that travel to all the centers, with which they have carried out 488,000 PCR tests in two months, or nearly half a million announced by the government in September. .

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