Chile announces new form of testing as COVID-19 cases rise above 122,000

92 new deaths in last 24 hours

Photo by Minsal

SANTIAGO – Chile’s Ministry of Health on Friday said 92 new deaths from the novel coronavirus were reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of victims to 1,448.

Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said that 20 of the latest fatalities correspond to the new criteria, indicating that this was the last time that the deceased were differentiated, since it can “cause confusion”.

Mañalich also announced that the Minsal will implement a new form of testing for COVID-19 in primary care that will include saliva samples.

Photo by Minsal

The minister informed that the determination was adopted as a result of the situations that have been registered in different health centers, in which patients with symptoms arrive in the morning and fail to apply the test.

“It seems crucial to us to move to a different form of testing in primary health care and validated by our expert committee, with even greater efficacy than testing through pharyngeal isolation,” he said.

“We want to enable premises, waiting rooms, where people enter and self-test,” he explained.

The purpose is for the personnel-in-charge to give them the sample bottle, which they must fill “with secretions of saliva up to a third” of the container.

“This will greatly speed up the exam-taking process and situations like that will be avoided (people who have not been able to take the test). And that is the fundamental reason why we want to move to this new modality of PCR test,” he concluded.

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Meanwhile, 4,207 new cases of coronavirus were registered across the South American country, of which 3,790 are symptomatic people and 417 are asymptomatic. The total number of coronavirus cases in Chile stands at 122,449.

Arturo Zúñiga, Undersecretary of Assistance Networks, estimated there are 11,631 places available throughout the country for people who need to go to a health residence.

Zúñiga highlighted that there are 1,521 people hospitalized across Chile, adding that 1,291 are on mechanical ventilation and 337 in critical condition.

This Friday at 22:00 the quarantines for the majority of the communes that are kept in confinement are renewed. Lonquimay is the only one that will have the measure lifted.

In this way, 38 communes in the Metropolitan Region will have at least one more week of confinement due to the pandemic that started in March this year.

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Chile has the highest totals for coronavirus cases in Latin America, after Brazil and Peru.