More than 20,000 daily tests in order to reopen Denmark in phase two
16 white tents will be part of the opening strategy under the name Testcenter Danmark – an initiative sponsored by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
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By Bente D. Knudsen
Five white tents were put into use after Easter, they were part of the first pilot phase of new country wide testing facilities set up as a cooperation between the Novo Nordisk Foundation who supplied the needed DKK 250 million, Novo Nordisk (the large pharmaceutical company), Statens Serum Institut, the Danish institute for infectious diseases, and the Danish Regions, this second testing unit has been launched under the name Testcenter Danmark.
“The reopening is linked to doing more tests, which will play a key part,” said Magnus Heunicke. This can for instance be used to allow people to visit elderly family members who are living in nursing homes, or for a municipality to test all of their employees working in the elderly sector such as Thisted Kommune has decided to do.
The test centres at the Danish hospitals will continue with testing as well, Testcenter Danmark is a supplement to the existing facilities.
The aim is to test broadly so that for instance anyone who is hospitalized for more than a day, as well as residents and employees at nursing homes can be tested according to the new guidelines.
The list includes:
Patients with mild coronavirus like symptoms.
Anyone who is expected to be hospitalized for more than a day
Acute treatments, where patients need to undergo procedures with a risk of spread should they be infected
Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed coronavirus infected person
Citizens who need to visit or help care for family members at risk, such as an elderly parent
Random citizens in order to get a picture of the spread of the virus – a message through borger.dk or e-Boks will inform them that they have been selected for testing and that they can go to one of the white test centres for a throat-swab or to have a blood sample taken.
Testing will be done to establish whether a person is infected with COVID-19 but also, when the tests are ready, a more widespread testing for antibodies.
On 27 April, the test centres in Viborg, Herning and Ballerup will open as will during the next weeks the remaining test centres in Hjørring, Thisted, Esbjerg, Kolding, Roskilde, Hillerød, Hvidovre and Rønne.
The test capacity has been expanded so that everyone showing symptoms can be tested as in the reopening phase, testing will be crucial to track chains of infection.
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It is expected that between five and ten percent of the tests may be false negative as even people with mild symptoms will be tested.
To get a test in one of the TestDanmark white test centres, citizens will still need to contact their GP or the emergency doctor by phone, they cannot just meet up on their own accord.
The Danish strategy is still a softening strategy. The goal is to get through the epidemic without the healthcare system breaking down which makes testing and finding infection chains a crucial part of the strategy.
It will not stop the epidemic, but hopefully this will keep it at a level that can be handled.
“The goal is still the same, but the tools we are using will change over time,” Kåre Mølbak from Statens Serum Institut said at a press meeting and he emphasized that tracking infection chains will be crucial when reopening the society more after the 10 May.
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