After delays and partly incorrectly assigned PCR test results in the previous week, the difficulties surrounding the corona tests outside of Vienna have obviously still not been finally resolved. That is why the school directors were informed about an emergency measure on Friday. In the coming week, too, there will only be one PCR test for students and teachers in the schools in the eight federal states outside of Vienna, according to a letter available to the “Wiener Zeitung”. The Ministry of Education had originally announced two PCR tests per week from January 17th.
After the Christmas holidays, a new provider, the bidding consortium ARGE for molecular diagnostics, was awarded the contract for these tests after a tendering process. The Ministry of Education, led by Martin Polaschek, threatened legal action at the end of the previous week after there had been delays of days and hours in the evaluation of the investigations. In the information sent to the school management, the Ministry of Education expressly reminded that two PCR tests per week and state had been contractually agreed with the contractor. That would be up to around 800,000 tests each time.
Tests staggered in the federal states
The emergency brake is now being pulled to deal with the problems. The contractor has announced that he will carry out one PCR test per week and school on one day, is stated in the information to the directors. In addition, the test days in the eight federal states are staggered: the schools in Styria and Salzburg are on Monday, January 24th. The schools in Lower Austria will follow on Tuesday, Upper Austria and Burgenland on Wednesday, and finally Carinthia, Tyrol and Vorarlberg on Thursday. In Vienna, where Lifebrain has been carrying out the PCR tests for months, there are only two tests.
Further antigen tests as a substitute
As a substitute, the school principals in the eight federal states are required to carry out antigen tests as a substitute. Although these deliver test results quickly, they are considered less reliable, especially with the spreading omicron corona variant. “Old” PCR tests should no longer be used, the letter to directors outside of Vienna recommends. Unused test products should be returned.