The saturation of Primary Care Centers (CAP) due to the new wave of infections, which mainly affect the younger population, has forced the Government of Catalonia to rethink its protocol for detecting and monitoring COVID-19 cases . The Secretary of Public Health, Carmen Cabezas, explained this Monday that at the end of last week they worked on a new document, which will be distributed shortly, and which proposes to enhance antigen tests more than PCR tests, on the one hand, or also reduce the time of tracing interviews, especially as regards questions about symptoms.
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Cabezas has argued that the current epidemic situation is different from the previous ones, due to the effect of the vaccines, and that the less severe symptoms of the disease allow them to rework the protocols. “We have to rationalize the tests,” he acknowledged in an interview on Catalunya Ràdio. Among them, he has given as an example the desire to do more antigen tests than PCR tests, since the former generate less workload on health personnel.
With this same objective, he explained that the form used by trackers to interview those who test positive will be changed. Cabezas explained that these conversations with patients can last about 20 minutes, which implies a significant workload, and added that the part in which details about the symptoms are requested could now be “secondary”, since the effects they are now less serious, he concluded.
Possibility of hardening measures
On the other hand, Cabezas has warned that the Government is studying applying new measures or recommendations in the face of the spike in infections and will do so “if it sees fit.” “We will be making the appropriate decisions depending on the moment,” he said. However, he recalled that the severity of the disease “is not the same as a few months ago.” He also explained that the situation of nightlife, which has been open since June 21, has been evaluated again, but no aspect has advanced.
When asked if a possibility was to make the mask mandatory abroad again, she acknowledged that it would be “impossible” in the current legislative framework but the Government recommends its use “very insistently.”
Cabezas has acknowledged the concern about the worsening of the pandemic indicators, although he has insisted that the impact on the ICU and mortality is very low. The secretary has admitted that the most worrying data are the new infections that are appearing but she has been hopeful that with a good vaccination strategy the serious effects of this new rebound will be able to “stop”.
Cabezas has highlighted the importance of vaccination, but has insisted that it is necessary to continue maintaining individual protection measures. Among these, the use of the mask. He has affirmed that the Government is in favor of “recommending” its use also abroad: “The mask is important to have”.