Both the speed and accuracy of Covid-19 tests have become an important issue. Especially because there has been a resurgence of the virus all around in the neighbouring countries of the Principality. Speed is important because if someone who is unaware of being infected is circulating they will be infecting others. Accuracy, of course matters – what’s the point of a negative test result if the test is not accurate enough to predictably detect the virus.
Thorough and Comprehensive Testing in the Principality
Monaco has made a comprehensive effort to create a safe environment by testing a majority of its residents and workers with blood tests (38.000 in all ) – so we can wander around Monaco safe in the knowledge that our compatriots are clean. And despite the evident lax ambiance in the summer partying in neighbouring towns, Monaco establishments have for the most part strictly observed health protocols. So why have 28 positive cases been counted in 14 days by Monaco’s hospitals? These are mainly people between the ages of 20 and 40 where contaminations took place outside the Principality, in family homes or in the professional sphere during breaks. Even more important than that there is speedy and accurate and regular testing to detect and prevent further infections.
Nasal Swab PCR Tests
The most accurate test is the nasal swab known as the PCR test. At the same time as blood testing (serological tests), the Princely Government has developed a PCR test system. To do this, several Monegasque entities are called upon, aided also by laboratories located in the neighbouring region. Concretely, the CHPG, the Scientific Center of Monaco, the Laboratory of Medical Analysis of Monaco, the Medico-Sports Center, the city nurses of Monaco and a laboratory in Beausoleil as well as another in Nice are fully mobilized to carry out the tests.
Speed and Capacity of PCR Testing
Today, the testing capacity in Monaco stands at 960 per week, or 137 a day. This week the capacity will be increased to 1260 per week.
Increasing Speed and Capacity of Testing
A team of nurses and staff from the Center Médico-Sportif are strengthening the city’s sampling capacity. The Monaco Medical Analysis Laboratory, which takes 50 samples a day, will be able shortly , at the request of the Government, to open an additional site for 50 additional samples a day. The CHPG has already pre-ordered a new Abott process that allows results to be rendered in 20 minutes. It would make it possible to carry out 30 additional analyzes a day.
The Monaco Scientific Center is awaiting delivery of an automatic device that will be able to perform 1,200 analyzes a day. This sophisticated machine ordered in May by the Princely Government should, in principle, be operational from mid-November.
These elements testify to the Principality’s mobilization to test its population very extensively. Compared to other European states, Monaco’s testing capacity relative to its population is more than double that of Belgium, France, Germany or Iceland and four times that of Switzerland or Italy.
Priority System for Testing
The Government is stepping up all possible avenues to equip the Principality as well as possible in terms of tests in the international environment. Indeed, many countries are also competing in the demand for PCR tests, reagents for analyses and swabs for samples. Similar to what was encountered in the mask market at the start of the health crisis, supplies are starting to be increasingly tight.
Faced with this situation, which should develop favourably in the coming weeks, the Government is organizing the tests according to health priorities. The tests are thus carried out as a priority on patients presenting symptoms suggestive of the disease or having been in close contact with a positive case. These situations reported by doctors are prioritized and treated within 24 to 36 hours.
A recent press release from the Government expresses the determination of the Monegasque authorities to do everything possible to ensure, in the long term, testing capacity in the Principality of Monaco will be sufficient for its needs and also under local control.
For health safety don’t solely rely on testing, of course. It is very important not to forget to wear your mask, keep a “social distance” and wash hands regularly.