Colombia’s health minister’s reported 25% less coronavirus tests in the last week of August compared to the beginning of the month.
According to the health ministry, it carried out on average 38,373 tests per day in the first week of August compared to 28,970 in the past week.
The number of reported infections dropped only 7% from an average of 10,241 per day in the first week of August to 9,542 in the last week.
Daily tests in August
Source: Health Ministry
The drop followed a reported peak in returned test results of more than 41,000 on August 14.
The director of the National Health Institute, Martha Ospina, told newspaper El Tiempo that “we continue growing our capacity, but few tests are coming in.”
According to virologist Carlos Alvarez of the Pan-American Health Organization, the lower number of test results could be because less people feel symptoms and requests tests. “This was to be expected,” Alvarez told the newspaper.
According to public health expert Luis Jorge Hernandez, the reduced number of tests “is worrying.”
The key at this point is to do more and more testing to ensure contact tracing and isolation. Lowering tests is fatal.
Public health expert Luis Jorge Hernandez
In total, Colombia’s health ministry has registered more than 600,000 infections and 19,364 confirmed deaths.
The private health intermediaries responsible for much of the testing have been under fire since the beginning of the pandemic and have been accused of refusing to carry out tests with people who are not privately insured.