The confirmed rate of COVID-19 tests performed at ad-hoc testing stations in the Seoul metropolitan area turned out to be 0.38%. This is the daily rate confirmed since the testing station was set up on Monday.
According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters on Wednesday, there were 19 confirmed cases out of a total of 4,973 tests performed at the ad-hoc testing stations from midnight to 6:00 p.m. on Monday. The authorities view this number to be significant, given that the test was randomly made to identify “hidden infected.” “Without the ad-hoc testing stations, it would have taken even longer to find these cases, or even might have not even found them at all,” said Hong Jung-ik who leads the Countermeasures Team at the headquarters. “It is meaningful in that we have been able to find new confirmed cases and prevent potential spreading of the disease.”
“Confirmed rates are hitting 3-4% range as we enter the third wave, while the previous rate had been about 1%,” said Kim Woo-ju, a professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Korea University Guro University. “The figure should not be underestimated, as the test is done on those who wish to be tested, instead of those suspected to be infected due to contact with confirmed patients.”
Some say that the testing stations are not very efficient, given the large amounts of resources and equipment invested. Meanwhile, 3.19% of tests were confirmed positive for those performed at medical institutions and public health centers across the country (excluding ad-hoc testing stations). Experts pointed out that the authorities needed to make improvements regarding the assignment of testing resources, traffic and level of proficiency. “It is a good measure, given the intention to increase testing opportunities to those with potential virus exposure,” said Eom Jung-sik, a professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases at Gacheon University Gil Hospital. “However, the lack of planning for ad-hoc testing stations in terms of medical staff proficiency and circulation may cause confirmation rates to decline.”
Some experts say that the medical staff should be dispatched to public hospitals lacking resources. As of Tuesday, a total of 398 medical staff including 56 doctors, 195 nurses, 117 medical technologists and 29 assistant nurses are assigned to 73 ad-hoc testing stations in the Seoul metropolitan area.