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Denmark to offer take-home test kits to track virus spread

Denmark will start offering take-home kits to collect samples to test for the new coronavirus, in order to get a better view of its spread, health authorities said Wednesday.

“In this situation we have the challenge that people who have upper-airway infections should not go to the GP,” Tyra Grove Krause of the health agency SSI told AFP.

SSI, which operates under the health ministry, is responsible for the surveillance of infectious diseases.

Grove Krause, head of SSI’s infectious epidemiology and prevention unit, said testing materials would be sent out to local health clinics around the country.

Patients who contact the clinic about respiratory symptoms can have a relative pick up the test, collect a sample at home to provide to the clinic, which will then forward it to a lab.

The tests are not primarily meant to be a diagnostic tool as they will only add a few dozen to the 700-800 carried out each day in Denmark.

However, as the number of cases has started to rise, the country decided last week to stop testing mild cases, and instead concentrate on those with severe symptoms.

As of Wednesday, Denmark had 1,092 confirmed cases and four deaths.

Denmark is also implementing social-distancing measures including banning gatherings of more than 10 people and closing schools and businesses in order to curb infections.

“It’s also important to have an impression of the level of transmission going on in society among those who have mild symptoms and are never referred to a hospital,” Grove Krause said.

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  • Posted on March 18, 2020