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Research centre Sciensano says that testing procedures will be modified

In future those living in care homes for the elderly that are suspected of having become infected with COVID-19 will be systematically tested for the virus. The move appears in updated testing procedures that appear on the Federal Public Health Research Centre Sciensano’s website. The procedures apply to all “collective residences”, including prisons and reception centres for asylum seekers. 

Sciensano adds that further testing is not necessary if several residents of “collective residences” prove to have tested positive. The Centre says that a maximum of 5 tests per residence should suffice. The decision to further extend testing has come about as a result of an increase in the testing capacity. Up until now labs have carried out and processed 3,000 to 4,000 tests per day. During the course of this week this will be increased to 10,000 tests per day.

Meanwhile, the rules for those that don’t work as carers or are resident in a care home, reception centre or other “collective residence” remain the same. They will only be tested on the recommendation of a GP and a test is not necessary if a patient only displays slight symptoms. Those with more serious symptoms will be sent to hospital.  

GPs that believe that a clinical examination is necessary to gauge the seriousness of the situation can carry out the examination themselves providing they have the necessary protective material. Previously a mouth mask and gloves sufficed, now the GP must also have goggles and an apron.

Any carer that tests positive must remain at home until at least 7 days since they first showed symptoms and have been fever-free for at least three days before they can return to work. The rule on being fever-free has been added on top of the previous rules.