It will not be possible to PCR test everyone who is infected Several test centers with PCR analysis will only be ready after the increase in infection, warns the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
The test capacity has exploded and it will take too long to get private players on the field, warns the Norwegian Directorate of Health in a mail to the Ministry of Health and Care Services.
Therefore, the Norwegian Directorate of Health asks the authorities to make an assessment of more people should not have to confirm positive self-tests with PCR test. A PCR test is currently the only way to obtain a valid corona certificate for a history of coronary heart disease.
The government recently ruled that people with three vaccine doses do not need a confirmatory PCR test.
Oslo Municipality announced this week that the test capacity in the capital is kneeling. Health councilor Robert Steen then asked to use antigen tests. This is now receiving support from the Norwegian Directorate of Health, which proposes that self-tests taken by professionals at the test centers should be able to be used in the event of a burst of capacity on PCR.
In the letter to the ministry that was sent last week, the Norwegian Directorate of Health warns:
- It is not possible to increase the test capacity for PCR in the laboratories ahead of the announced increase in infection over the next 1–3 months.
- Procurement of PCR analyzes through private actors will be too late for the increase in infection in the next one to three months.
- Even with a shorter tender process, it will take almost two months to put in place increased test capacity from private providers.
At the end of October last year, 90,660 corona tests were submitted. Last week, the number of submitted samples was up to 302,302 in Norway. The proportion of positive samples is now 38.9 per cent.
The Norwegian Directorate of Health is now asking the ministry and politicians to change the test strategy:
- A new assessment should be made as to whether all self-tests should be confirmed by PCR.
- A process should be initiated to create priorities for PCR analyzes
- The notice period in a tender process for the procurement of PCR analyzes should be cut from 30 to 15 days.
- The regional health authorities have the best competence in purchasing and should be given the responsibility for purchasing test services from private actors.
- Health workers at the test centers should be able to use rapid tests, so-called antigen tests when the capacity of PCR has been exceeded. This requires that the municipalities can use private test providers or get help from other personnel to use rapid tests.