Americas: ‘Sensible’ use of fast checks important amid COVID surge

Americas Sensible use of fast checks important amid COVID surge
Americas Sensible use of fast checks important amid COVID surge
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Dr. Carissa Etienne, Director of the Pan American Well being Group (PAHO), highlighted the important want for international locations to scale-up testing and, particularly, to leverage “sensible” use of fast antigen checks.

Over the previous week, COVID-19 circumstances within the area reached new peaks, with practically 7.2 million new infections and greater than 15,000 deaths.

“Though Omicron infections seem like milder, we proceed to induce warning as a result of the virus is spreading extra actively than ever earlier than,” she mentioned.

Regional overview

COVID-19 hospitalizations proceed to surge in North America, the US and Canada.

Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras noticed their caseloads greater than double over the previous week, representing the very best numbers of latest circumstances in Central America.

Caribbean islands are additionally witnessing the steepest improve in infections within the practically three years because the pandemic was declared. Instances in Martinique have risen by greater than 600 per cent, whereas Saint Martin has reported a greater than 135 per cent improve.

Caseloads in additional than 17 international locations and territories have a minimum of doubled, which she mentioned is very regarding as hospital capability in lots of islands is restricted.

Infections are also accelerating in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia, whereas hospitalizations are rising in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.

‘Use checks well’

Because the virus surges, international locations are confronting what Dr. Etienne known as the “acquainted problem” of testing.

Regardless of a powerful community of laboratories throughout the Americas, demand for testing is larger than ever, particularly as many international locations are additionally experiencing an lively flu season, “so it’s important that international locations use checks well,” she mentioned.

PAHO has advisable that one of the best ways to spice up testing is to leverage fast antigen checks, which offer a prognosis in minutes.

These checks don’t require specialised coaching or costly gear, and may be deployed to major well being centres, which means extra individuals may be reached.

Dr. Etienne urged international locations to increase testing on the group degree to alleviate strain on overburdened hospitals.

“As a result of we face a testing scarcity, PAHO recommends that international locations prioritize fast antigen checks for people who’re experiencing COVID signs and are susceptible to spreading the virus,” she mentioned.

Assist to international locations

PAHO continues to assist regional international locations through the pandemic.

By means of its Strategic Fund, greater than 42 million PCR diagnostic checks and fast antigen checks for practically 40 international locations have been acquired because the begin of the disaster, greater than two years in the past.

Greater than 12 million checks have been deployed to international locations in want, with shares despatched to Bolivia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, in addition to St. Kitts and Nevis, in latest weeks.

The well being company has additionally established agreements with two of the WHO-approved producers of COVID-19 diagnostic checks, to safe them at diminished price.

Dr. Etienne urged governments to make the most of this association by buying diagnostic checks by means of the PAHO Strategic Fund.

Since January of 2021, the Fund has bought greater than 22 million COVID checks on behalf of regional international locations, and orders are anticipated to extend this 12 months.

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