The Buenos Aires government announced Tuesday that it will extend PCR testing and evaluation procedures to all asymptomatic individuals who have had close contact with confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Officials said the move s a preventive initiative ensured at identifying those with Covid-19 as soon as possible. Last month, City authorities extended similar tests to partners of those who have tested positive and now the government is seeking to include all residents of households that have at least one confirmed infection.
"Those who may be asymptomatic but have been in contact with a sick person will [now] be tested,” said Buenos Aires City Health Minister Fernán Quirós.
"We are going to test all close contacts, even asymptomatic cohabitants. We have had seven weeks of stable cases, with an average of 1,100 cases a day," added City Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, speaking during a visit to a school in Flores on Tuesday.
To evaluate all asymptomatic 'close contacts' saliva tests will be carried out, which can be performed directly at home. It is simpler, less invasive procedure for patients, as well as being safer for healthcare professionals.
Testing will take place within the framework of the City's DetectAR Móvil Operation, which has a presence in 31 barrios across the capital.
In an interview with Radio Rivadavia, Quirós indicated that City officials had identified a number of new cases linked to "social, family, and holidays encounters in closed spaces."
"We need to do something about that," he declared.
The City health minister also addressed complaints from national government officials and healthcare professionals, after crowds were seen at some bars and restaurants last weekend.
"People have been in this quarantine for six months. We need an alternative so that people can do something that is allowed, but that is regulated, controlled and in a safer place. From there came the idea of occupying public space,” Quirós stated.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a total of 425,621 people have been tested in the City with PCR tests, between the public and private systems, 62 percent of them were residents of CABA. A positivity rate of 41 percent was recorded among residents.