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Chewing tests planned for school screening in Latvia

The saliva tests currently used in the testing of pupils Covid-19 are planned to be gradually replaced by chewing tests, Health Minister Daniels Pavļuts said at a press briefing September 13.

'Chewing stick' tests are currently being tested in a pilot project. 

"We plan to introduce this chewing stick method as much as possible. At the moment, several laboratories are working on introducing this method on a larger scale," said the Minister for Health.

Chewing tests also use saliva, but samples are obtained by keeping a test stick in the mouth for approximately half a minute. It is a simpler and more convenient method than the spit test currently used.

“Our aim and purpose is to align epidemiological safety so that schools can work on-site and so that we have sufficient information about the any outbreaks at schools,” the minister said.

The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reported that last week the Covid-19 test was positive for 351 pupils. More than half had symptoms of respiratory disease. Therefore, Pavluts invited parents to take the child to the family doctor instead of school if the child had signs of illness.

“It is really essential that we avoid a wider spread of not only Covid-19 but also other respiratory viruses in schools because schools are working in person this autumn, with which these risks of virus spread are increasing in any case,” the Minister said.

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