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 The use of these tests will be allowed in public hospitals increasing the capacity and response of the laboratories.
 - A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -


Published Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Public hospitals may use
fast covid-19 test

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministry of Health approved the use of fast tests, so-called antigen (Ag) molecule tests, for the rapid diagnosis of covid-19.

According to the ministry, the use of these tests will be allowed in public hospitals increasing the capacity and response of the laboratories, because the tests are faster and less expensive, compared to the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests currently used.

The test will only be carried out on people who show symptoms of having covid-19. In order to perform the PCR nasal test, the person must have experienced between 1 and 5 days of onset symptoms, the Ministry said.

This type of testing will allow faster detection of infection, especially in remote areas, institutions, communities, shelters, prisons, work, among others. The ministry requires for there to have been at least one person showing symptoms of the virus, before testing begins at the location.

Rapid tests must have an ability to correctly identify an individual having the disease of at least 80 percent and an ability to correctly identify an individual as disease-free of 95 percent.

However, due to the low sensitivity of the rapid test, it will be necessary to carry out control of the cases with negative results, so-called a false negative, to identify the possible cases that the test could not detect. So all negative cases will require an additional negative PCR test for confirmation.

To expedite the final test confirmation of recovery from covid-19, the rapid test sample will be sent to the Social Security laboratories for verification. During the analysis, patients will not be able to interrupt their quarantine or isolation until the final result is obtained.

Rapid tests detect the presence of viral proteins when the virus is active, making this type of test very specific, the ministry said.

This fast testing for covid-19 is of utmost importance in this country, as deaths and confirmed cases increase.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health shared the latest information on the statistics of the virus:

890 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 43,021 active cases.

13,685 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 74,604 cases since March, approximately 18.3% of the total cases.

• 606 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 230 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 1-year-old baby to a 91-year-old person). And 376 patients are in recovery rooms. The majority of the rest of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 30,703 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 41.2% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

• 136,309 people have been ruled out.

• 226,281 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

880 deaths of people infected with covid-19, approximately 1.2% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these 341 were women and 539 men. The ages range from 19 to a 100-year-old person.

As of Aug. 31, authorities confirmed the death of 31 foreign-born patients. The youngest and most recent reported foreign-born victim victim was a 19-year-old woman who lived in Guanacaste Province. Before then, on July 30, the ministry announced they would not provide updated information on foreign-born people who died from covid-19 in the country, which at the time authorities reported 30 had died from the virus since March.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its
Covid-19 Map.

As of Tuesdsay night, the pandemic has killed 1,006,564 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Should health authorities increase the number of covid-19 diagnosis offered?  
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