An at-home test showing a positive result in a private residence in Espoo, Southern Finland, on 13 January 2022. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE MINISTRY of Social Affairs and Health on Wednesday unveiled a proposal drawn up by an expert task force for voluntary at-home testing.

At-home test kits, it stated, are recommended especially for people who are experiencing mild symptoms associated with a coronavirus infection and symptomatic under 12-year-olds together with their parents and siblings.

It is also recommended that asymptomatic people who have come into contact with the virus self-test at least twice every three days with a test kit designed specifically for people not experiencing symptoms.

A positive result should be treated similarly to a positive result from a laboratory test, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. People should stay at home, minimise contact to others and, to the extent possible, notify everyone they came into contact with in the past two to three days.

A negative result, the ministry reminded, does not rule out the possibility of infection, meaning symptomatic people should continue to avoid contact to others.

It is not always necessary to confirm a positive self-test result in a laboratory test, even though doing so is recommended as long as the local testing capacity is sufficient. Reasons for confirming a positive at-home test through the health care system may include serious symptoms, vulnerability to the disease, employment in the care or nursing sector or a need for an isolation or quarantine decision to claim sickness allowance.

An at-home test should also never be an excuse for people who are part of a risk group or exhibiting serious symptoms to delay treatment-seeking.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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