Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Covid-19 screening: “I need to know if I’m infected”

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There were not many on this Thursday, March 26, queuing in the morning in front of the Miromesnil health center, in the heart of Paris, but some had come from far away. Like Brigitte, 52, who lives in Longpont-sur-Orge (Essonne), an hour away by car. In this center in the 8th arrondissement, since Wednesday, we have been testing patients who think they have Covid-19.

Screening so far confined to hospitals and private medical analysis laboratories. “China, Taiwan, Germany … are doing it on a large scale and it works,” explains Daniel Dimermanas, director of Cosem, the association that manages the structure. It’s just common sense: now you have to go! “

“I don’t have a cough, but my throat has been itching for a few days,” explains Brigitte, who is waiting her turn on the sidewalk, in the queue reserved for people who think they are sick. Since I look after my 82-year-old parents a lot and my husband has asthma, I need to know if I am infected. We didn’t know where to go, and then when we looked on the Internet, we came across this center, ”explains the patient. She fills in a special questionnaire and gets the temperature taken, then a nurse gives her a mask. Wearing is compulsory in the center.

“We have seen everything since yesterday”

Inside, a monumental staircase leads to a large reception hall, undergoing redevelopment work. Behind a pillar, a doctor provides respiratory assistance to a patient who decompensates on a bed before being transferred to the hospital while an employee struggles to clean the seats. Dr Dominique Sayous receives, behind a large white sheet stretched.

“We have seen everything since yesterday,” said this experienced doctor, wearing a mask, gloves, glasses and a protective gown. People who have waited too long and arrive in serious condition, but also people who are anxious at the slightest sign who need to be reassured … “He stops:” I received yesterday a contaminated dentist who gave a corticosteroid to his wife whose nose was blocked: everything you should not do! Tell your readers to stop self-medication. No more medicine without medical advice! »Taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Nurofen, etc.) or certain corticosteroids (cortisone) can indeed worsen the infection. Only paracetamol is recommended to relieve pain or fever.

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Sophie is 38 years old. She is about to enter the consultation. She comes from Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis) where, she says, “I did not manage to have an appointment in a medical office, they refuse new patients”. However, the young woman, who works in a college, says: “For the past few days, I have had a little fever, I have lost my sense of smell and taste, but I don’t cough too much. I think it’s a cold. “It will be tested. Cost of the act: 54 euros, paid 60% by social security. If the result is positive, it will either be followed by teleconsultation on the platform that the association has just opened or oriented towards 15.

“We also do this to protect our practitioners”

“We have a second center, in the 19th arrondissement, which will soon be able to offer the same thing. We will then be able to carry out up to a hundred samples per day ”, welcomes Vincent Pargade, head of the biology department at Cosem. His association has signed an agreement with the Cerba laboratory which performs the analyzes and provides the result in 48 hours. “We are doing this to relieve hospitals when a big wave of patients is expected in the coming days but also to protect our practitioners, to prevent contaminated patients from consulting them directly, ”explains Vincent Pargade.

Hamid patiently awaits his turn in the line of suspect cases, under the watchful eye of the vigil. This Parisian handler is worried. “It is important for me to be able to take this test. I was arrested three weeks because I was tired. I need to go back to work, but my employer wants to be sure that I am not infected. But he will not be screened in the end. Here too, contrary to what he thought, the levies are not systematically practiced. They are done only on prescription from the center’s doctors.

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