Widely inspect contact persons to prevent the spread of infection Sumida Ward Public Health Center initiatives Tokyo August 6 19:10

In order to prevent the spread of new coronavirus infection, it is now necessary to strengthen inspection. However, due to the increase in the number of infected people, many public health centers are under pressure, and the issue is how far to expand inspections. Under such circumstances, efforts are being made to stop the spread by inspecting not only concentrated contacts but also the surroundings of infected people.

The public health center in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, expanded the scope of PCR testing, taking into account the fact that a cluster of infected people occurred at two hospitals during the first wave.

Starting this month, if an infected person is found in a facility that is used by a large number of people, we are conducting a wide range of tests not only on concentrated contacts but also on people who may have been contacted.

We have put in place a system for that purpose.

From June, there are three cluster countermeasure teams, consisting of doctors and public health nurses.

We have developed our own PCR inspection room and have made it possible to perform about 100 inspections per day.

The health center director, who holds a doctor's license, is also a member of the cluster group.

In Sumida Ward, an infection was confirmed in one student at a junior high school on the 2nd of this month (August).

For the first time, the public health center conducts a PCR test not only for the rich contact person but also for about 30 students who have been contacted.

As a result, 3 students were found to be positive, and by the 6th day, the PCR test was conducted on approximately 160 people by the 6th day.

“It is important to pick up the buds before a cluster occurs. It is important to reduce the burden on the public health center, so we are devoting manpower to thorough inspections,” said Toru Nishizuka, director of the Sumida Ward Public Health Center. I am talking.

However, it is necessary to strengthen the system to carry out wide inspections.

In Sumida Ward, the number of infected people has increased since last month, and the positive rate of the test has gradually risen to 5.3%, and the work of public health centers is beginning to be under pressure.

Currently, the public health center has strengthened the system by receiving support from 65 staff from the ward office and outsourcing part of the telephone consultation, but due to investigations etc., the staff is already insufficient. It is said that there is a difficult situation.

Nishizuka says, “I feel that it is necessary to reassess the system of the public health center in order to continue thorough inspections so that clusters do not occur twice.”

"Expand the scope of inspection"

Even as the infection with the new coronavirus spreads again, there are a number of voices calling for wider coverage.

A man in his 20s living in the Kansai region was found to have been infected this month with a part-time job he worked with at his store.

One week before that, the man put on a mask, worked out part-time work with a part-time worker, and had a conversation for over 30 minutes to take over the work.

For this reason, I was waiting at home according to the instructions of the company, but after that, the public health center told me that I will not be subject to PCR test because I am not wearing a mask and hitting a heavy contact.

The man lives with his old father, and he also has internal organs problems, and his family doctor says that if he is infected, he may get serious.

Even after consulting with the city hall window, they said, "If you are worried, please stay overnight in the car."

I also consulted with a nearby medical institution if I could receive the test, but I was told that "I can't do the test without symptoms and without the instructions of the public health center", and I haven't received the test.

The man said, "I'm at risk of getting severe if I and my father get infected, so I would like to have an examination soon. If it is negative, I can feel relieved, and if positive, I can be hospitalized or treated at a hotel to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus or become severe. I have anxiety and anger why I can't get the test done."

Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare "For non-dense contact persons subject to administrative inspection"

In order to prevent the spread of new coronavirus infection, the efforts of Tokyo's Sumida Ward have expanded the scope of inspections to those other than concentrated contacts.

Last month (July), the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare also announced nationwide that people who are not rich contacts can be subject to administrative inspections at public health centers.

Until now, many local governments have conducted tests for infected people and concentrated contacts based on the national guidelines.

As the infection spreads again and clusters continue to occur in various places, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said that health centers "prone to cluster chains in specific areas and groups" on the 15th (July) last month, saying that more aggressive tests are needed. If it judges that it is not a rich contact person, it will be notified that it can be subject to the administrative inspection of the local government.

However, it is left to the discretion of each local government to determine how far it should be expanded to include those who do not have rich contacts.

Since last July (July) 28th, Saitama Prefecture has decided to inspect people on the same floor or building even if they are not rich contacts.

However, with the spread of infections tightening the work of public health centers around the world, the extent to which tests are carried out varies depending on the local government.

Expert "Important for breaking the chain of clusters"

Regarding the efforts of public health centers in Sumida-ku, Tokyo, Mitsuo Kaku, a professor at Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University, who is familiar with infectious disease control, said, ``In order to break the chain of clusters, we will not only examine concentrated contacts but also a wider range of contacts. It is very important to do this. Using this as a model case and implementing it nationwide will help prevent the spread of infection.”

On top of that, “In the midst of the spread of infections, the work of public health centers has become extremely widespread and difficult, and local governments are making efforts, but there are limits. Including human resources and physical resources, I think it is indispensable to provide solid support in order to expand the inspection system in the region."