Due to the increased number of new cases reported in the Silesia region in May (identified outbreaks in mines) screening of the population employed in the mining industry through double genetic screening tests has been introduced.
Screening has also been performed in other workplaces where there have been outbreaks such as the furniture factory in Kępno in the Greater Poland (Wielkopolskie) voivodship. Currently, screening is carried out in hospitals in Warsaw. Additional screening is addressed for all patients who are going for a spa treatment. By 8 July over 18,500 persons were tested and only 1.63 persons per 1000 tested positive.
By 30 September, there were 251 drive-thru testing points across the country and 197 laboratories were carrying out testing for COVID-19. The distribution of laboratories by provinces (voivodeships) is available at the website of the Ministry of Health (https://www.gov.pl/attachment/5ff65b52-e198-497b-89b1-c8a1f743909b). Current (September) total testing capacity in the country exceeds 31,000 tests per day.
Since the 2nd of September, patients who have been in quarantine for at least 10 days, during which time they had no symptom may be released from quarantine without having to undergo testing. This means that testing is mainly conducted in people who are symptomatic.
From September 9, primary care doctors can order tests for SARS-CoV2 infection during direct and remote consultations using a special application (Gabinet.gov.pl). They then inform the patient about the location of the drive-thru points where the examination can be performed. They are also required to inform the patient of the need to avoid public transport. They must report suspect cases of infection to the County Sanitary and Epidemiological Station SARS-COV-2 by completing the ZLK1, which can be done via a special application (office.gov.pl). Detailed guidelines on ordering of tests and on patients’ pathways depending on the patient's condition were published on September 23 (https://www.gov.pl/attachment/88929166-8a5c-47ad-a02f-72a18d452293).
By the 4th of October 3,465,605 tests had been performed, of which 24,794 were ordered by primary health care physicians. The average number of tests per 1000 population is estimated at 91.1 Currently, the rolling 7-day average number of tests for each new confirmed case is estimated at 15.7. The WHO suggested around 10–30 tests per confirmed case as a general benchmark of adequate testing. The share of positive COVID-19 tests showed an increasing tendency in September. In early September, this share was around 2.5% and approached 7.1% by the beginning of October. The WHO recommends that the share of positive tests should be kept below 5%.
Poland follows WHO recommendations and uses the RT-PCR molecular test for COVID-19 testing. In line with national laboratory diagnostic testing regulations, testing should be performed by laboratories with at least a BSL-2 classification. State sanitary inspection units authorise cases for testing but physicians can also order a test as a part of the treatment process.
On the 15th April Poland launched national the production of coronavirus detection tests, starting with 100,000 units. The test was developed by the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznań, with financial support from the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, which further donated PLN 15 million for the production of the first tests.
Since the distribution of the laboratories is not equal across Poland, the Deputy Minister of Health is planning to introduce provincial (voivodship) coordinators to better manage testing.By 17 August 183 laboratories were carrying out testing for COVID-19. Their distribution by provinces (voivodeships) is available at the website of the Ministry of Health (https://www.gov.pl/web/zdrowie/lista-laboratoriow-covid). Current total testing capacity in the country exceed.
By 28 August 2,522,949 tests had been performed. The average number of tests per 1000 population is estimated at 66.99. Currently, the rolling 7-day average number of tests for each new confirmed case is estimated at 32.2. The WHO suggested around 10–30 tests per confirmed case as a general benchmark of adequate testing.
From 23 March fast-track COVID-19 testing has been available for medical and laboratory staff meeting specific criteria, particularly those displacing symptoms and/or have had exposure to confirmed cases.
County (local) sanitary stations send special ambulances (called ‘swab buses’) to collect smear samples from people who are quarantined and are waiting to be tested. Decisions on who gets tested are taken by the sanitary inspection units on the basis of epidemiological investigation. For people with symptoms, tests can be performed in dedicated hospital facilities.
In addition, the National Health Fund has progressively set up a network of 180 drive-thru testing points across all voivodships. All tests performed in these points will be reimbursed by the Fund. People who have been in quarantine for 12 days can be tested in the drive-thru points and they are notified about such possibility via a text message when they approach day 11 of quarantine. On 4 May, the first military ‘TEST&GO’ swab point was opened in Krotoszyn, in the Greater Poland (Wielkopolskie) voivodeship, with Territorial Defence soldiers taking samples for the presence of coronavirus. The swab point is organized as a ‘drive-thru’ point, with people being able to provide swab samples without getting out of the car. Test results will be available via the websites of the sanitary stations (by entering a unique code) and over the phone. Positive test results will be communicated over the phone. Swabs will be collected from persons previously designated for testing by the Sanitary and Epidemiological Stations. Five more ‘TEST&GO’ swab points will be opened from 11 May. Further military ‘TEST&GO’ swab points will be opened depending on the demand in the voivodeships.
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