DGS determines that rapid tests should be preferred in outbreaks in schools or homes

Rapid tests should also be used “in situations of social urgency”, such as children at risk and victims of violence. The strategy determined by the Directorate-General for Health takes effect on November 9

The National Test Strategy for SARS-CoV-2, published this Monday, determines that in outbreak situations in schools, homes or other institutions, rapid tests should preferably be used in order to apply “quickly the appropriate public health measures”.

“In an outbreak situation (such as, for example, schools, educational establishments, Residential Structures for the Elderly (ERPIs) and similar / closed institutions), rapid antigen tests (TRAg) should preferably be used”, refers the strategy disclosed by Directorate-General for Health (DGS).

According to the document, “the tests must be carried out by the Public Health teams indicated for the rapid intervention (including obtaining results of laboratory tests used in less than 12 hours), in inter-sectoral articulation with municipal partners, or others, in a way to implement appropriate public health measures quickly “.

Rapid tests should also be used “in situations of social urgency (for example, children at risk, victims of violence).

The strategy, which takes effect at 12:00 am on 9 November, follows the current recommendations of international health organizations and is supported “by the best available scientific evidence”, aiming to contribute to “the protection of Public Health and to mitigate the impact of pandemic in health services and in the most vulnerable populations “.

The standard, published on the DGS website, states that for the diagnosis of covid-19 in patients without hospitalization criteria, with indication for clinical surveillance and isolation at home, the molecular nucleic acid amplification test (TAAN) should be used. or the rapid antigen test (TRAg), preferably in the first 5 days of symptoms.

In people with negative TRAg results, a confirmatory molecular test should be performed, at most within the next 24 hours, in situations of high clinical suspicion of covid-19.

Molecular testing should be performed on patients with admission criteria before admission. If the test is not available or does not allow the result to be obtained in less than 12 hours, a quick test should be used.

In asymptomatic people with high-risk contact with a confirmed case, the molecular test or a rapid test should be used, in case the TAAG is not available or does not allow results in less than 24 hours.

To prevent and mitigate the impact of covid-19 on health services and vulnerable populations, DGS says that a clinical and epidemiological questionnaire “should be carried out by the clinical team within 24 to 72 hours” before hospital admission.

“In urgent and emerging procedures, the absence of a laboratory test should not delay the provision of adequate clinical care and, in these circumstances, the Personal Protective Equipment must be used by health professionals”, the document emphasizes.


In health care units, tests should be carried out before performing aerosol-generating procedures, surgeries, before admission to childbirth assistance, for admission to intermediate and intensive care.

Molecular tests or rapid tests for regular screening (between 7 and 14 days) of health professionals who provide “direct and highest risk of contagion” care, appropriate to the context of each service / institution, should be considered.

In Residential Structures for the Elderly (ERPI), Units of the National Integrated Continuing Care Network (RNCCI), social reception institutions and reception centers for migrants and refugees, tests must be carried out up to 72 hours before admission.

In a situation of scarcity of available resources, people with suspected infection with criteria for hospitalization and patients with conditions associated with progression to severe covid-19 have priority for testing.

Priority in outbreak situations is also given to users and / or residents of RNCCI, ERPI, care institutions, new borns and pregnant women, health professionals and people before carrying out aerosol-generating procedures.