It is necessary to test more, say doctors

Il faut tester davantage, disent des médecins

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
The screening centre of the Covid-19 near the Granby hospital.

On the eve of the déconfinement progressive companies and schools in Quebec, physicians plead for an increase in screening tests of the COVID-19 in the community. The lifting of the restrictions should go hand-in-hand, they say, with a large-scale screening.

The ministry of Health and social Services (MSSS) prioritizes, currently hospitalized patients and health professionals, symptomatic, as well as users and employees of NURSING homes and residences for seniors, in terms of screening. “When we look at the priorities of the tests for the past three weeks, we can see that the community is a priority of 6 on 6,” said Dr. Isabelle Samson, president of the Association of specialists in preventive medicine in Quebec.

In the scale of prioritization of the MSSS, the “symptomatic people of the community the permission of the director of public health” come in sixth place.

The national director of the Quebec public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda said on Monday that it would ” increase the testing capacity significantly over the next few weeks.”

Dr. Isabelle Samson is believed that the screening on a larger scale in the community must begin immediately, even before the déconfinement part. The authorities will then be able to measure the real impact of the resumption of business, and the return of children to school and daycare.

“Currently, there is much less of new cases in several regions and it is without doubt the result of public health measures and our work,” says Dr. Isabelle Samson, who practice in the eastern Townships. It is also probably because you are not looking for much in the general population and that access to the test is difficult. How do you really know ? It is this dilemma of interpretation that we would like to avoid. “

People symptomatic “should have access now,” at a test screening, writes Dr. Catherine A. Hankins, a professor of public health and population at McGill University. “The priority should go to those who work with the public, such as health professionals, teachers and those who work in childcare services “, she says. She reminds us that the sinews of war to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19, this is to detect cases, isolate the infected and to trace all their contacts.


The dashboard on the evolution of the coronavirus in Quebec, in Canada and in the world

Restricted access to tests

This limited access to screening tests concerned about Genevieve, a teacher from Quebec who prefers to remain anonymous. His spouse of 45 years show symptoms of the COVID-19 (including high fever) for a few days. Sunday, he isolated himself in the basement, away from their three young children, aged 2 to 8 years. When she called at 811 Monday, the nurse was formal : the screening is only available to people working in essential services.

“I asked the nurse what I had to do, because I worked in the field of education, and that they will reopen the schools,” said Genevieve. She told me that I didn’t have to isolate for 14 days. To go to work and remember if I had symptoms. “

On Wednesday, his spouse was finally able to see a doctor, which made him pass a test. Despite it all, Genevieve is questioned. “We listen to 13 h and they say that they detect in the mass, that it tracks more than anywhere else. In all innocence, I thought it dépistait all the people who had symptoms. My situation probably represents that of many families. “

The situation, however, appears to vary from one region to the other. “The people who do have symptoms, then get tested in our region,” said Dr. Donald Aubin, director of public health for Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean. But there was not a lot of people who call. “The latest report regional state of the 272 positive cases.

“With the lifting of roadblocks [on may 11], it is probably going to be more liberal [in the tests],” he continues. We are going to test a lot more if there was outbreak. “

Greater ability to test

At the national level, the MINISTRY said it is working ” to make more accessible the offer of tests to measure our detection capacity will be enhanced “.

Quebec has ordered the company Spartan Bioscience 200 000 tests of rapid detection and 100 devices to analyse them. This new equipment should be available towards the end of may, indicates to the HSS. As to the plan of screening in view of the déconfinement, “it is too early to advance more,” says the MSSS, by e-mail.

In his daily press briefings, the government Legault ensures that it has a capacity of about 15 000 tests per day. The Alliance’s professional and technical staff of the health and social services (APTS), which represents technologists and technicians of laboratory, has verified with its members. “The overview that we have done leads us to believe that the labs can do 15 000 tests per day,” says the president of the APTS Andrée Poirier.

It is still necessary to have the equipment necessary to conduct the screening. The MSSS ensures that it has sufficient swabs : “80 000 swabs have been distributed to schools last week, and more are to come,” says one.

The federal government was formed last week a committee to measure the extent of the pandemic of the COVID-19, with the help of serological tests detecting the presence of antibodies. Dr. Catherine A. Hankins, the co-chairs. “Ideally, we would have had these tests to help [Quebec] in her decision making, she noted. We are working as quickly as possible to have them. But it is necessary to test that work. We don’t want to have false positives or false negatives. “

With Isabelle Porter

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