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Monday, June 27, 2022

Free COVID-19 tests: how do I know if I can go to a Minsa center?

The country is in a third wave and new covid cases continue to rise steeply. Last week, for the second week in a row, the country doubled the cases of Covid-19. The previous week there were 26,000 and last week 50,000 new cases, explained the Vice Minister of Benefits and Health Insurance, Augusto Tarazona.

For this reason, the Covid points implemented by the Ministry of Health (Minsa) continue to receive thousands of citizens who make long queues in search of a discard test. Given the large influx of people, the ministry has indicated that there will be groups with priority and, on the contrary, others will have to go through a teleconsultation beforehand.

ALSO READ: Third wave of COVID-19: check the 16 vaccination centers where you can take free discard tests

Any citizen can go to the Covid points regardless of your district of residence, the Minsa indicated to this newspaper. In addition, he maintained that people over 60 years of age or people with comorbidities will have preference for covid tests.

He also indicated that, in order not to saturate these points, people who are suspected of having covid and are asymptomatic should first call 113 to receive a teleconsultation. Despite not having symptoms, it is advisable to isolate yourself so as not to continue the chain of contagion.

Dr. Camille Weeb, infectious disease doctor at Cayetano Heredia, advised people who have been with a positive case and still do not have symptoms, wait five days from contact to get tested. Otherwise, a false negative could occur. In addition, he clarified that, if the person is asymptomatic, it is better to do the test PCR or molecular, since it is likely that the antigen test will be negative, despite being positive.

Currently the prevalence of coronavirus is very high: the latest figures from the Minsa, as of January 9, mention that there are 4,067 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours. For that reason, Dr. Weeb said: “If a person has suspicious symptoms such as cold, malaise, body and throat aches and fever, it is prudent to assume that one is infected and isolate”.

Laboratory saturation and long queues

Since the Minsa discard points where free antigen and molecular tests are carried out, thousands of people have queued for up to five hours to get their test. However, many citizens have denounced that these centers only test the first 30 or 40 people.

The Villa Deportiva Nacional (Videna) in San Luis, Campo de Marte in Jesús María and Parque Huiracocha in San Juan de Lurigancho are the three places with the highest public attendance. In another report of this newspaper, the Directorate of Integrated Health Networks (Diris) mentioned that there are approximately 300 tests, between molecular and antigenic, which are distributed to each of these centers.

ALSO READ: Third wave: citizens massively flock to free COVID-19 disposal points and express their discomfort due to the lack of tests

Currently, there are 167 special disposal points implemented by the Minsa in Lima; in addition, there are 542 in regions, indicated the general director of the General Directorate of Strategic Interventions in Public Health (Dgiseo) of the Minsa Dr. Alexis Holguín. He added that to avoid saturation at these points, more centers are being implemented nationwide.

Likewise, Dr. Holguín commented that during the third wave, up to 33,000 molecular tests have been carried out in a single day. Unlike the second wave where 290 per day were made. This is not counting those carried out in the private sector.

However, the medical epidemiologist Carlos Medina de la Cayetano Heredia explains that, despite this being an excellent measure to break the chains of contagion, the country does not have the capacity to process all the Covid tests. “Not only do we need the resources [pruebas], if not also the laboratories. This policy has caused the National Institute of Health to collapse and this affects the units with critical patients”, he told El Comercio.

These days, a molecular test result can take more than 72 hours due to high demand.  (Photo: Jesus Saucedo/@Photo.gec)
These days, a molecular test result can take more than 72 hours due to high demand. (Photo: Jesus Saucedo/@Photo.gec)

What should those who are positive and have mild symptoms do?

The specialists consulted by this newspaper agree that positive cases should treat the disease according to the symptoms. If a person has no symptoms, they should not take medication.

On the other hand, they advise against taking antibiotics or corticosteroids – such as dexamethasone – as this can be harmful to health. They also do not recommend ivermectin as its efficacy in covid infection has not been proven.

Doctors maintain that at no time should patients self-medicate. In addition, they should rest and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

What they can take, based on their symptoms, It is a paracetamol for headache or fever and pain relievers in case of sore throat.

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