Denmark to start testing people with milder coronavirus symptoms

Denmark to start testing people with milder coronavirus symptoms
Helene Bilsted Probst, head of the Danish Health Authority's planning department, at a press conference last month. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix
The Danish Health Authority has changed its coronavirus strategy to allow doctors to order tests for those with mild symptoms if they live with vulnerable people.
Currently, the country is testing only those with moderate to severe symptoms, those in risk groups such as the elderly and chronically ill, and health personnel. 
 
Helene Bilsted Probst, who runs the authority's planning department, told Danish public broadcaster DR on Thursday that she believed the new guidelines could more than triple the number of tests carried out. 
 
“My expectation is that we will reach higher than 5,000 with these new guidelines this week,” she said. “But we expect that we can reach 10,000 next week and 15,000 after Easter.” 
 
The new guidelines will allow general practitioners in Denmark to order coronavirus tests for citizens with mild symptoms if they live with family members over 80 years of age or with other vulnerabilities, or if the doctor judges that the individual would “have difficulty securing a good framework for self-insulation”. 
 
 
This latter category would probably cover those with psychological, developmental or substance abuse problems, but who exactly should to be tested is left up to the doctor's judgement.  
 
“It is important that the message that more people can now be tested comes out, and it is our and the regions' joint task to ensure that those in need of testing now have the opportunity,” Probst said in a press release announcing the new guidelines. 
 
Doctors will be able to refer patients to be tested if they contact them on the phone at their practices, with the test result will then be sent directly to the doctor.  Previously, those who suspected they were infected had to go for an assessment at their nearest hospital.
 
Denmark has so far tested just 27,109 people for the virus, fewer than the 94,265 people tested in Norway, and a lower number even than in Sweden, where more than 36,000 people have been tested. 
 

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