With new guidelines, patients with no signs of COVID-19 being released from isolation

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The Ministry of Public Health has begun releasing asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in accordance with the new recommendations released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shamdeo Persaud explained that there are conditions for these patients to be released.

“They have to spend the time, they have to show no symptoms for the last three days before they’re released,” Dr. Persaud said.

He noted that the persons are required to complete at least 14 days since being diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The last four days must be totally symptom-free, they must have temperature checks in the normal range, they must also have no respiratory symptoms and no other findings,” he stated.

Dr. Persaud said following discharge, the Ministry of Public Health keep in contact with the patients to find out if any symptoms of COVID-19 develop later.

“When we discharge them, we do daily follow up by telephone. And on the seventh day, we’re also recommending that they have a clinical evaluation in the event that they have any late onset [of the disease]. We also brief them so if at any time, if they have any unusual occurrence –any loss of taste, loss of smell, any lesions, any skin reaction –occur that they immediately make contact with the regional centers,” he noted.

In updated guidelines, the WHO stated that “based on evidence showing the rarity of virus that can be cultured in respiratory samples after 9 days after symptom onset…it appears safe to release patients from isolation based on clinical criteria that require a minimum time in isolation of 13 days, rather than strictly on repeated PCR results.”

Previously, persons had to be tested negative twice for COVID-19 within 24hrs for them to be released from isolation.

There have been instances where asymptomatic persons spent 40 to 100 days in isolation as their PCR tests showed positive results.

WHO in its updated guidelines said “it is important to note that the clinical criteria require that patients’ symptoms have been resolved for at least three days before release from isolation, with a minimum time in isolation of 13 days since symptom onset.”

It was pointed out that the strict reliance on PCR confirmation of viral RNA clearance creates other risks including straining resources and limiting access to health care for new patients with acute disease.

The WHO recommended for symptomatic patients can be discharged once their symptoms become dormant for three days.

As of July 26, Guyana recorded 370 COVID-19 cases with 181 recoveries and 20 deaths.

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