Policy responses for Latvia - HSRM


Policy responses for Latvia

1.5 Testing

A wide range of people will be able to receive state-paid Covid-19 tests until the end of the year. From June 10 to June 30, everyone has had the opportunity to take a state-paid Covid-19 test based on pre-registration, even without symptoms.

Enrolment for COVID-19 testing has been improved since October 1, 2020. The Riga East Clinical University Hospital will be responsible the centralized registration of tests, it will provide the 8303 call service and will offer the client the nearest (most easily accessible) and fastest possible testing option.

From November 5, the "E-record for Covid-19 test" has been created on the website of Riga East Clinical University Hospital www.aslimnica.lv. When registering, everyone is able to choose the nearest and most easily accessible Covid-19 analysis transfer point - in Riga, Jurmala, Salaspils, Daugavpils, Rezekne, Cesis, Valmiera, Jekabpils, Jelgava, Liepaja or Ventspils.

State-funded testing for COVID-19 is provided to:

-residents who develop coronavirus symptoms including those returning from abroad within 14 days: high temperature, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing;
-The Covid-19 patient contact persons identified by the CDPC and contacts in quarantine who show symptoms within 14 days, 
-Employees of certain professions who develop symptoms of acute respiratory illness: health care professionals involved in patient care; pharmacists and pharmacist assistants; emergency services officers; police officers, fire-fighters, border guards, customs officers, etc.; staff of social care institutions and shelters;
-Certain hospitalized patient groups:  all patients with pneumonia admitted to hospital; hospitalized patients with severe acute respiratory infections.
-Certain groups of patients with a very high risk of transmission and complication of infection: social care clients (elderly people with chronic illnesses) and patients in shelters for acute respiratory infection.

Primary care specialists have to refer their patients for testing in cases they consider relevant, e.g., to prove that the patient has recovered. 

COVID-19 testing is provided by:

-the Emergency medical service teams for patients with severe symptoms; individuals with severe symptoms are required not to leave their residence place.
-mobile testing points in Riga, Daugavpils, Jekabpils, Liepaja, Ventspils, Madona, Talsi, Cesis, Tukums and Valmiera, if arriving with own vehicle at the time set by prior arrangement,

Special new structures include mobile testing points of the Emergency medical service and drive-throughs (public and private). Since March 23, new additional COVID-19 testing sites have been launched in several cities in the region, where suspected COVID-19 patients can go for state-funded testing if travelling by private car and after pre-registering. 

The capacity of COVID-19 laboratory testing capacity has been developed according to the need. Since March 23, 2020 testing for COVID-19 has been provided across Latvia in seven cities, or 13 test delivery sites. State-funded testing is provided by the National reference laboratory and two private companies - E.Gulbis Laboratory and Central Laboratory.

Results are on average available after 24 hours. People with positive results, who had not been hospitalized, are called via phone, and contact tracing by the CDPC epidemiologists commences immediately.

As of April 14, almost 1 500 test samples were conducted in 24 hours. At present, analyses can be transferred to 22 locations in Latvia. The maximum average waiting time for results does not exceed 48 hours.

Persons can be referred for COVID-19 testing by their employers if considered necessary, even in case of no symptoms. From April 14 this was applied to retail workers, but on April 28 the coverage was increased for pre-school staff and international transportation providers.  The employer has to draw up a list of persons concerned and submit it to the Emergency Medical Service, which will then organize the tests.

GPs refer for testing all persons who have symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing), or clinical signs of pneumonia.  Patients with chronic diseases (diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, oncological diseases, etc.) can be referred for testing without any signs of COVID-19 disease. This applies also to patients receiving organ replacement therapy, those with immunodeficiency and those planning operative care, eg. surgical operations.