Procedure of discharging asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to be changed - Chief Epidemiologist | Daily News

Procedure of discharging asymptomatic COVID-19 patients to be changed - Chief Epidemiologist

Based on studies conducted both locally and internationally, a decision has been taken to change the procedure of discharging asymptomatic COVID-19 patients from hospitals, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said.

Accordingly, asymptomatic COVID-19 patients and those with mild to moderate symptoms no longer need to take a follow-up PCR test in order to be discharged from quarantine.

“If more than 10-14 days have passed since a person is infected with COVID-19 virus and shows no symptoms, then we can discharge such a person from hospitals without any fear since they are no longer contagious,” he added.

The Chief Epidemiologist was speaking at a media conference held at the Health Promotion Bureau yesterday.

He further said the previous protocol had required that patients test negative twice consecutively before being discharged from isolation. But recent studies proved that there is no need to conduct PCR tests in such a manner since only the genetic material can be detected by a real-time PCR test and not the liveliness of the virus.

Dr. Samaraweera stressed that there is no need to self- quarantine after moving from one district to another district and if a person is informed that he or she is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for novel coronavirus, such a person should have a test done as soon as possible, even if he or she has no symptoms. As a close contact, there is no way of knowing if he or she is infected until that person has been tested. Therefore, the close contact must act as an infected until the test result is received. Deputy Director-General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath also spoke.