Volunteer dentists among Turkish healthcare workers conducting COVID-19 tests

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Around 1,000 dentists are voluntarily taking part in field efforts to conduct coronavirus tests across the country, the health minister has told Hürriyet newspaper.

Some people have reported that health crew visits them at their homes for virus tests even though there was no family member who had symptoms for the virus or contact with someone contracted with COVID-19.

“Singapore, Israel and South Korea have adopted an approach under which they test everyone. That is not what we are doing in Turkey. This is what we do instead: As soon as we detect someone with symptoms or individuals who apply to health institutions, we screen the people who have been in contact with this person or persons. Moreover, we widen the circle to include the people who have been in touch with the latter group of people,” Fahrettin Koca said.

“This approach yields good results.”

He furthered that the “testing everyone” method may have some downsides. “People who tested negative for the virus fell very relaxed. But there is a possibility for these people to test positive in the next three days. And this may spread the virus. What we say is: Everyone should consider themselves as having been ‘tested positive’ and take precautions accordingly.”

In Istanbul alone there is a 1,300-strong team which carries out those tests, Koca said.

“Each team is made up of three specialists and across Turkey, there are 5,600 specialists in those teams. I can confidently say that there is no screening team at this scale anywhere in the world.”

He added that some 1,000 dentists are voluntarily taking part in those efforts.

Turkey widely uses what it calls a “filiation” method to screen the chain of contacts in infectious diseases. If somebody tests positive, close contacts are also tested.

The rate of infection by the novel coronavirus in Turkey has fallen by over a third from 15 percent to 9 percent in the past week, despite rising test numbers, with recoveries surging by more than threefold, the official data have shown.

Hurriyet Daily News

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