COVID-19: Gov’t sets target to test 22% of Brazil population

A total of 46 million tests will be distributed by December

Published in 07/05/2020 - 11:35 By Jonas Valente - Brasília

The Brazilian Health Ministry during a press conference on Wednesday (May 60) unveiled a national testing plan as part of the efforts to curb and combat the new coronavirus pandemic. The initiative was built in partnership with state and municipal health secretaries and aims to test 22 percent of the country’s population.

The government had announced the target of acquiring 46 million tests. The number remains unchanged. In May, the ministry’s estimate was to reach 1.5 million tests sent to states and municipalities. Another 4 million are expected in June and July, 3.2 million in August, and some 3 million every month until December.

The program is split into two strategies. The first, dubbed Confirma COVID, includes the lab test called RT-PCR. The foal is to purchase a total of 24 million tests of this kind, appropriate for people running symptoms until the eighth day since the infection.

“Of all cases, 68 percent show cough and fatigue. These are mild symptoms, similar to those of a cold. This is when someone should take the RT-PCR test, which sends a sample collected from the nose to the laboratory. This tests identifies the virus. As of the eighth day, the test may come back negative, as the number of viruses starts declining sharply,” Oliveira declared.

For COVID-19 patients, the official protocol remains the same. With cold symptoms, patients must stay at home for 14 days. If the condition changes into further symptoms, like difficulty breathing, chest pain, bluish lips or face, and oxygen saturation below 95 percent, patients must be hospitalized.

If the individual does not reach this situation, but symptoms persist, the serology test should be conducted as of the eighth day, using the finger. The government plans to acquire 22 million kits for this procedure. It identifies antibodies produced to fight the virus, not the viral load.

Also as part of the strategy, capitals and cities with more than 500 thousand people will have quick testing stations installed and the ministry will continue to contact patients digitally, over the phone or through apps.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Nádia Franco / Nira Foster

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