Employees called to vaccinate vulnerable seniors should undergo a rapid test for COVID-19, experts argue.
• Read also: The nurse who was vaccinating … had COVID
“Quebec is late,” laments David Juncker, professor of biomedical engineering at McGill University.
On Monday, The Journal of Montreal reported the case of a nurse who came to vaccinate seniors in a residence in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and who obtained a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 in the following days. According to him, this case illustrates the need for these rapid tests.
About 150 seniors are in administrative segregation at RPA Samuel-de-Champlain and awaiting a screening test after being vaccinated on February 2 by a nurse who was presumably infected, but who did not feel symptoms until the next day.
According to Mr. Juncker, the strategy of the Quebec government focuses “on the infected, but less on the infectious,” he said, ie people without symptoms, at the start of the infection, but who can still transmit the disease.
“This is what we have been arguing for several months already […] The problem is not finding out who is infected, but who will transmit the disease and rapid tests are the most effective, ”he argues.
He also believes that these tests could be used on a daily basis with health workers.
For now, Quebec’s inventory of more than a million of these tests that detect the virus in less than 15 minutes is sleeping in a warehouse. Only 6,500 were used, according to what The Journal of Montreal reported last month, notably in a school in Montreal.
Roxane Borgès Da Silva, professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal (ESPUM), admits that the screening tests used for a year are better at detecting the virus, but the results in 48 hours are too long to get, while rapid tests can help find the virus spreaders quickly.
“It’s complementary,” she says, not understanding the stubbornness of the Quebec government in this matter.
The province of Ontario has also started to use them.
In Quebec, the Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) of the Montérégie-Center explains that all those who vaccinate Quebecers must sign a “symptom register” during their work day.
The nurse who went to the RPA Samuel-de-Champlain had done so and had no symptoms, it is specified.
“The residents are considered to be at low risk, since the vaccinator has worn personal protective equipment, as are the users she vaccinated. In addition, the vaccination lasts less than 15 minutes, underlines the CISSS.