Finland distributes COVID-19 rapid tests to hospital districts, Åland Central Hospital and Defence Forces
The hospital districts, the Åland Central Hospital and the Defence Forces will get free rapid tests for COVID-19 to combat and curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finland will receive these tests as a donation funded by the EU Emergency Support Instrument. The European Commission has concluded a contract to purchase altogether 20 million rapid tests for Member States. Finland’s share of this will be 250,000 rapid tests.
Once the tests have been distributed swiftly to hospital districts and further to healthcare units, it will be possible to increase testing capacity. It will also be possible to get test results faster and, in case of exposure to COVID-19, to improve screening, for example in workplaces, schools, shelters and units for service housing. Rapid tests are already in use at Finland’s western border, but it is justified to expand their use to other border crossing points, too.
According to preliminary plans, hospital districts would get rapid tests not only on the basis of their willingness to receive them but also on the basis of the number of antigen tests conducted in the district in question. However, the number of tests to be delivered could vary depending on current needs and the use of the tests.
What is a rapid test?
The rapid tests to be delivered to the hospital districts, Åland and the Defence Forces are antigen tests. Conducting an antigen test does not require any trained laboratory personnel or specialist laboratory. If necessary, antigen tests can also be carried out as point-of-care tests at 24-hour service units or care units. An antigen test gives results in 15–30 minutes.
Kari S. Lankinen, Senior Medical Officer, [email protected]