Sunday 4 June 2023

CCSS will test anyone who has mild symptoms for covid-19

A cough, shortness of breath, headache, throat or muscle pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue are on the list of symptoms that anyone can ask to be tested for the virus

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QCOSTARICA – Feeling under the weather, have a cough or runny nose, fatigued, weak, nauseous, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing? Or suspect you may have covid?

PCR or antigen testing is done with a nasopharyngeal swab, that is, a person has a swab inserted into their nose to collect the sample. Photo: John Durán

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) will now perform antigen tests on people with suspected covid-19 who have mild symptoms, similar to a cold or stomach virus.

These people were not tested before.

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Dr. Mario Ruiz, the CCSS’s medical manager, indicated that covid-19 can take on different “disguises” and that it does not manifest itself in the same way in all individuals.

“It is impossible to know, just by looking at a person, if they have covid-19 or not. It (the virus) wears multiple disguises and that is why the tests are necessary,” said the doctor.

The health centers have already been trained not to “turn away” people with these symptoms without performing the test.Roman Macaya, executive president of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS)

Therefore, a covid test will be carried out on those who register at least one specific symptom of covid-19 (such as a lack of taste or smell) or two signs of a cold.

The diagnostic test will be done to those who present only one symptom from this list:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of smell or taste

Or to those who have two or more of this other:

  • Diarrhea
  • Mental confusion, disorientation, speech inconsistencies
  • Nasal congestion
  • Pain in the head, throat, muscles and bones
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Microbiologist Angie Cervantes, advisor to the Health Services Development Directorate, explained that there are 55 laboratories throughout the country that can perform this test.

Take good care of yourself, consider yourself positive, and let’s take care of each other. From the moment of symptoms, isolate yourself from your family. Mario Ruiz, Medical Manager of the CCSS

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She noted that this number is expected to expand to 75 locations in the next two weeks.

The tests are free to all those insured with the Caja.

New definition

The decision to broaden the spectrum was made because the Ministry of Health changed the definition of a suspected case.

“Anyone of these can have covid-19 and the only way to know or rule it out is with the test. We are going to detect more cases, but this means that we are going to isolate them and stop these people from having the virus,” said Ruiz.

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Previously, there were frequent complaints from users who requested to be tested and were denied.

Some of these people received confirmation that they had the virus by paying for a private test or after, as the disease progressed, they showed more symptoms.

“If the (health) service refuses to do the test, go to the Comptroller of Services (of the health center) and there it will be resolved,” stressed the medical manager.

Mario Mora Ulloa, director of Health Services Developments of the CCSS, specified that negative results will be given by email and positive results will be called by phone.

The officials asked the population to get tested and not wait to feel very bad, because only then will the contagion stop.

“Take good care of yourself, consider yourself positive, and let’s take care of each other. From the moment of symptoms, isolate yourself from your family,” Ruiz said.

Currently, the CCSS does some 3,000 tests per day, according to the medical manager. With the decision announced this Wednesday, that number will most likely double or triple.

“This will mean many more positive people, but it will also allow us to isolate them in time and avoid further transmission later,” Ruiz said.

The executive president of the CCSS, Román Macaya, was emphatic that these tests are a strategic measure to flatten the curve because as long as the transmission continues in the community, they cannot solve the situation in the hospitals.

The authorities of the Caja assured that the officials of the health centers have already been trained not to “turn away” people with these symptoms without performing the test.

Antigen tests

If the people who arrive at the health centers are in the first seven days of symptoms, an antigen test will be applied.

Unlike the PCR test, the other does not detect the genetics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes covid-19; instead, look for viral proteins.

These are faster tests, which give the result in a matter of hours because they do not require a molecular biology laboratory. Their confidence, however, is not as high as PCRs.


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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