Norway health agency wants people with even mild symptoms to get tested

Norway health agency wants people with even mild symptoms to get tested
Espen Nakstad said that it was important to maintain high testing capacity even if it is not being used. Photo: Finn Oluf Nyquist/Directorate of Health
Norway's health authorities have called for everyone with any potential coronavirus symptoms, even a slight cough or sore throat, to try to get tested for the virus.
“It is important to know what the current advice is so that you do not pass on the infection to others,” Line Vold, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health told state broadcaster NRK
“Testing is part of the system we have for monitoring the epidemic. It is important that everyone gets tested in order to be able to keep on top of the infection rate going forward.” 
While Norway has built up the capacity to test over 100,000 people a week, it is currently testing a fraction of that, with just 14,593 tested last week. 
“Right now, few people have respiratory tract infections, so there are only a few people who need to take the test, compared to what there would be in a season where more people get respiratory infection, which we expect to be the case this autumn,” Vold said.
Espen Rostrup Nakstad, acting deputy director at Norway's Directorate of Health, said that Norway could easily increase its testing capacity well beyond 100,000 if necessary. 
“We are determined that the capacity should be high, so that if we get into a situation with a lot of contagion, we will be able to test as many people as possible who have symptoms,” he said. 
Nakstad said that health authorities were currently working on a saliva test which would be easier to carry out than current throat and nose swab tests, and potentially require fewer testing personnel. 
To get a test, he said, people should check the website of their local municipality and find out how and where to take a test locally. 
In Oslo, for instance, you should ring your doctor, or ring the municipality's 'koronatelefonen' on 21802182. 

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