Has Olivier Véran been true to his word? For the record, in early September, the Health Minister is asked about the long time period to get an appointment for a coronavirus test in some areas. He agreed that “there is a time period in laboratories to get tested, queues in Paris and elsewhere, and it currently takes about 3.5 days to get tested (…), it is indeed too long”. Then followed a new “prioritization” policy aiming at giving priority on PCR test in laboratories to people at risk, health caregivers, symptomatic people and contact cases, and even the creation of a hotline devoted to doctors to find an emergency appointment for their patients.
This policy seems to be effective as Le Parisien assessed data from over 600 pharmacies via the Doctolib platform. According to the daily, “On September 24, 2020, Doctolib website showed 509 time slots available to get an appointment in the following month. Among them, only 5 places were available on the very day”. A remarkable change on October 8 with “636 establishments showing availabilities in the following month, 155 availabilities on the very day”.
Is it caused by an increase of the pace? No, rather, the diminution of tests. In their weekly report as of October 8, Santé Publique France says the number of tests diminished: “1,282 tests for 100,000 inhabitants, naming -9% in comparison with the week before”, but tests are more and more positive. Among the people tested in w40 (whatever the test was”, 65% said there were asymptomatic”, a number that keeps on growing.
Asked about the testing channel by Le Parisien, Julien Durand – entrusted with Santé Publique France study – says “the prioritization policy launched by the government and the health authorities seems to pay off”.
Fewer tests, but testing the right people. Now, let us hope the antigenic tests, quick test experimented in Île-de-France, will be validated soon.