In Villiers-le-Bel, residents can be tested free of charge and without an appointment - Caroline Politi / 20 Minutes

  • Almost every day, screening campaigns are organized by the Ile-de-France regional health agency in lower-income neighborhoods.
  • Appointments are free and without appointment. The objective is to alleviate the difficulties of access to care encountered by the most vulnerable populations.

Bolili will have waited almost two hours under a blazing sun. "It was worth it," smiles this dashing forty-something man, a straw hat screwed on his head. I will know tomorrow whether or not I have coronavirus ”. Although he has no symptoms and feels "in great shape", this resident of Villiers-le-Bel, in Val-d'Oise - one of the departments most affected by the epidemic - has not not hesitated for a second when he learned that a mobile screening center was stopping this Thursday in the heart of the city, on the market square. "It reassures me, I have been careful since the beginning of the deconfinement but you never know. "

For the past ten days, the Ile-de-France Regional Health Agency (ARS) and the AP-HP have been organizing a free and walk-in screening campaign for Covid-19 in popular areas of the region. you. "This kind of operation allows us to know where the virus is really circulating and thus avoid blind spots," explains Aurélien Rousseau, the director of ARS. In these cities, the population is further from healthcare, even though this epidemic is hitting people with pathologies linked to precariousness harder. This Thursday in the early afternoon, around fifty people are waiting. So much so that it is difficult, in the queue as well as under the tents, to enforce social distancing. "As it is hot, people seek shade and forget the rule of one meter," laments a volunteer.

"It is as much to reassure me as to reassure those around me"

"Do you have symptoms?" Cough, fever, or loss of smell? And have you been in contact with sick people? Asked Laura, a second year medical student. Ferdine is feeling well, but this La Poste employee, who did not stop working during the confinement, is worried. Several of his colleagues were sick. “This test is as much to reassure me as to reassure those around me. I have no co-morbidities but I am over fifty years old. "

Officially, only people with symptoms, considered at risk or having been in contact with patients can access the test. In fact, everyone who shows up is tested. “We don't refuse anyone. We have very few people with symptoms but they could have been in contact with people carrying the virus without knowing it, ”explains a volunteer. To facilitate reception, associations guide volunteers, provide translation when necessary or help them in their process.

In Villiers-le-Bel, residents can be tested free of charge and without an appointment - Caroline Politi / 20 Minutes

The fear of infecting others is what pushed Samuel and Rosa-Linda to come and get tested as a family. "We want to make sure that we are not asymptomatic carriers," explains the latter. My mother, who lives with us, has comorbidities, she is 71 years old, with diabetes so since the beginning of the epidemic, we have not taken any risks. They almost never left their homes during confinement, preferring to have the groceries delivered and remain confined since May 11. But as of Monday, the couple will resume their way to work. "Obviously, that worries us, because people are not as careful as us. But at least we will know that we are not a danger to others ”, continues her husband.

"Doubt was not really allowed"

Last week, the health authorities thought they detected an outbreak during a screening in Clichy-sous-Bois, in Seine-Saint-Denis: out of a hundred people tested, eight were positive. Three new campaigns were immediately organized in the city, the results of which were much more reassuring. This Thursday, the doctor present on the Villiers-le-Bel installation sent without waiting "Covisan" brigades to two families for which "doubt was not allowed". “In one case, the man who presented himself no longer had a sense of smell and in the second, the children of a woman who tested positive wanted to return with their father, who was also ill. Better not to take a risk, ”insists the practitioner. These teams are responsible for carrying out tests with other people living in the home, but above all for tracing the chain of contamination as much as possible.

Other brigades could be sent if tests carried out during the day returned positive. "In recent days, many indicators have been encouraging, there are fewer emergency visits for suspected Covid or calls to Samu, the test positivity rate has dropped a lot but it would be wrong to say that the situation is under control, insists Aurélien Rousseau. If an outbreak goes under the radar, the epidemic could start all over again.

If the screening operation is acclaimed by the inhabitants, some would nevertheless have preferred to be offered a serological test, which makes it possible to determine whether antibodies against Covid-19 have been developed. This is the case of Farida, convinced that she was infected in early March, like part of her family. "Even today, I feel very short of breath and tired but I have never been tested," says the young woman who plans to be prescribed a blood test if the test results are inconclusive. 


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  • Coronavirus
  • Deconfinement
  • Covid 19
  • Paris
  • Society