Iceland Collects Blood Samples to Track Spread of Virus Skip to content

Iceland Collects Blood Samples to Track Spread of Virus

By Larissa Kyzer

COVID-19 Press conference Þórólfur Guðnason Alma Möller V'iðir Reynisson
Photo: Golli.

Starting on Monday, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason and deCODE Genetics will begin collecting blood samples from the general public in order to help determine how widespread COVID-19 infection has been within the Icelandic population, RÚV reports.

Þórólfur said he expects tens of thousands of Icelanders to voluntarily donate blood samples for the survey. People undergoing blood tests for other reasons will also be asked to donate a sample. The blood samples will also be tested for antibodies; those who give blood will be notified of their test results as soon as they become available.

During the daily COVID-19 press conference on Sunday, Director of Health Alma Möller said that there will soon be a review of how general health care services were prioritised during the height of the epidemic. Health care authorities had been concerned that people needing medical services would refuse to seek them out, but there is currently no indication that this occurred.

Alma also noted that the number of deaths in Iceland did not increase during the epidemic. Quite to the contrary, the number of deaths has gone down. There are various possible explanations for this, including a decrease in other infectious diseases and fewer accidents while Icelandic society has largely been on pause.

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