Miners in COVID-19-struck Silesia undergo mass testing

When Tuesday’s COVID-19 cases report showed Poland’s highest daily spike in numbers with as many as 492 out of 595 infections reported in the heavily industrialised, mining province of Silesia, an array of extra measures has been implemented, including the screening tests of some 14,000 miners.

“We have concluded the swabbing of nearly 14,000 miners. The results are being collected as we speak. Around 200 positive test results are expected already today or tomorrow,” said Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski, adding that on Saturday and Sunday “we want to redo the testing of those who returned negative results.”

“We will be running 3,500 tests today, 5,000 tomorrow and 5,000 on Sunday,” said the minister, adding that “this will complete a double round of testing of this expansive, severe outbreak area.”

“On Monday, we are launching another round [of testing]. We have checked other mines out at random. We’ve got individual cases there, yet we still need to be extra cautious. It is likely that we will continue testing in other mines,” said Mr Szumowski.

The latest COVID-19 cases report showed 235 cases out of which 204 were confirmed in the Silesia province. Minister Szumowski said that had it not been for the outbreaks in the Silesian mines, the results of Silesia would not differ from those of the other provinces.

“We are seeing a drop in the number of hospitalised people in Silesia. It’s good news,” said Mr Szumowski, adding that countrywide over 20,000 tests were carried out daily.

“Obviously we want to increase the rate [of testing]. Having a better picture of the situation in other provinces, where only individual cases occur, will allow us to control the epidemic and demonstrate downward incline of the infection curve,” the health minister said.