- The massive screening campaign against Covid-19 began this Monday in Roubaix and must end on Saturday.
- It should make it possible to analyze the circulation of the virus, after the holidays, in one of the most affected cities in France, in October.
- Each positive case will be the subject of a specific analysis to detect the presence or not of the English variant of the coronavirus.
“A green yellow color, bright but dry”. Alexandre is a pharmacist, but also a biologist. He is one of the twenty professionals who officiate, this Monday, in one of the six massive Covid-19 screening centers, in Roubaix, in the North: the Lejeune room in the Trois-Ponts district. This device, set up for six days, should make it possible to analyze the circulation of Covid-19, after the holidays, in one of the most affected cities in France, in October.
“Testing is a real passion. Our work is really useful ”, assumes Alexandre to 20 Minutes. And with a single glance at the nasal swab, it ensures that it can detect some signs of the virus. “By dint of doing it, we find characteristics,” he explains.
“A pivotal period”
So, to the color and texture of the nasal excretion, it often indulges in prognosis. “And I’m rarely wrong,” says the Roubaix pharmacist. Especially since the other particularity, according to him, is a small dry cough of the patient during the sample.
On the other hand, Alexandre is not yet able to detect the English variant, object of all the requests currently. “It is a pivotal period to identify the presence of this English variant among the positive cases and this device should help us there”, specifies Benoît Vallet, director general of the regional health agency (ARS) of Hauts-de-France. , pilot of this massive screening operation.
Thus, each positive test revealed to Roubaix must be automatically sent for genetic decryption. First at the Lille hospital center for a preliminary diagnosis, then at the end of the week, at the genopoly of the Evry atomic energy commission, for a real sequencing. Problem: this double operation takes time. Thus, two cases of the English variant, detected in Lille at the end of 2020, were not confirmed until ten days later.
Worrisome situation on the coast
“There are no other cases identified for the moment *, but we are vigilant”, underlines Benoît Vallet who says he is “concerned about the situation on the coast of the region, where hospitals have recorded a lot of entries, last week, reaching a bed occupancy rate of 45%. “
The alarm bells have been sounded because, since the appearance of the mutant virus in Great Britain, the phenomenon of contagion seems to have multiplied there. “The latest statistics show 5% of people positive for Covid-19 in London,” worries Philippe Froguel, Lille researcher involved in the massive screening of Roubaix.
The good news is that only three postive cases were discovered within the six Roubaisian test sites during the first day. The bad thing was that attendance was hardly at the rendezvous: a pzu more than 1,000 people volunteered to be tested, while the maximum testing capacity is over 2,000 per day.
“Still, there was a lot of hype,” says Christine, a 50-year-old volunteer for both antigen testing and PCR. For this Roubaisienne from the neighborhood, getting tested is above all a “citizen act” to “overcome the virus”. Alexandra, a teacher in the nearby school, also took the plunge, but without much conviction: “If they do these tests, it must be that there is an interest”.
* At the time of writing, a truck driver, tested in Dunkirk, was suspected of carrying the English variant.
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