Private coronavirus test available from HPA health group

The HPA private health group has announced that it is now carrying out Covid-19 tests at its Alvor and Gambelas hospitals.

Says the group, “anyone can be tested without requiring a doctor’s prescription”.

Since Monday (April 20), patients booked for surgeries or undergoing cancer treatment, as well as pregnant women, are being tested regularly.

Sample are collected on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the out-patients unit between 8am and 10am. Results are then available within 48 hours.

People must book their test beforehand by contacting the group’s call centre (282 420 400).

The cost per test is €160, with a source for the hospital group saying that “the amount varies” depending on the type of insurance people may have.

10,000 coronavirus screenings
In just over one month, the HPA private health group carried out 10,000 coronavirus screenings while 20 positive patients were admitted to its Lagos hospital.

Screenings are different from tests as they only check for symptoms of Covid-19.

In a statement to the press, the HPA group, which also runs hospitals in Portimão, Alvor and Faro (Gambelas), says it began reorganising and restructuring its services on March 9 “to adapt to the extreme demands of the pandemic caused by Covid-19.”

It explains that “not a single day has passed where decisions have not been taken in order to keep the organisation prepared in terms of safety and security”.

HPA has “created contingency plans at all its units, set up screening stations, opened circuits for Covid and non-Covid patients, restructured an entire hospital to admit Covid-19 patients and set up a drive-through for collecting samples for testing”.

Furthermore, no one has entered an HPA unit since March 17 without first completing an “epidemiological questionnaire” and having their temperature measured.

According to the hospital group, “over 10,000 people went through triage in our Algarve units alone, of which approximately 6% revealed to be suspect cases.

“These cases were predominantly women and symptoms have been changing; in the first few days, cough and fever were the most common symptoms, but later breathing difficulties were also observed,” said the HPA group.

An HPA medical spokesman also warned that patients with chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, among others, have been “neglecting their health”, as some are arriving at their hospitals “severely ill” and, despite showing Covid-19-like symptoms, are in fact patients with chronic diseases requiring medical attention.

As for Covid-19 inpatient admissions at the Hospital de São Gonçalo in Lagos, the majority of patients remained under treatment and surveillance in their rooms, with only one needing intensive care.

Although face-to-face consultations were always possible, the group also began telehealth appointments in most specialties.

Meanwhile, HPA’s drive-through testing centre in Sines has also tested over 500 people, with 5% testing positive for coronavirus.

On a closing note, the group’s management “thanks and congratulates the professionalism of its employees, whose commitment and dedication have been formidable, allowing for the regular monitoring of those who enter the HPA units and ensuring that, up to now, no health professionals have been infected”.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com