The disease may be asymptomatic for the elderly. It is expected that the tests for coronavirus in nursing and retirement homes will be carried out before Wednesday.
This according to a statement made by member of the administrative board of the healthcare sector, Dr Françoise Berthet, during a press briefing at the National Laboratory in Dudelange on Monday morning.
To date, we know that 17 homes have been affected and approximately 170 residents infected. In an answer to an enquiry by RTL, the Ministry of Health stated that so far 23 people have died of coronavirus in nursing and retirement homes.
According to Dr Berthet, it is very important to observe the progression in that age group, who he says
"are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Fortunately, however, the situation seems to be well under control in Luxembourg. At the moment, there are only 17 care homes with patients tested positive for Covid-19 and only 2% of people in these homes, sorry less than 2%, have been tested positive. The number of cured people is also steadily increasing in the mean time."
Dr Berthet stated that reliable and objective information is needed in order to progressively reopen these homes in the future. A first stage would allow physiotherapists to return during the following days. All of the people living in the 52 homes as well as the entirety of the staff, over 10,000 people in total, will be tested. The National Laboratory is currently assembling about 1,000 test kits per hour for this specific purpose. These tests are carried out because the disease may have an asymptomatic progression for the elderly.
According to the director of the National Laboratory, Prof Dr Friedrich Mühlschlegel, the results of this series of tests will also determine if more people in Luxembourg should be tested:
"However, I think that what has been shown is that the concept of testing early on and on a large scale is successful and was successful here in Luxembourg. This is also why this project is so important for us because, as Dr Berthet stated, these are vulnerable groups of people. We feel a great responsibility to participate."
The goal is that the results of the tests in care and retirement homes will be available on the same day.