New DOH Protocols for Releasing Recovered COVID-19 Patients
“As long as the patient does not exhibit symptoms at all for three days and the patient has reached the 10th day since the onset of symptoms, the patient can already be cleared by the physician to go home,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire declared in a press conference last June 26.
This announcement shifts our protocols for distinguishing recovered COVID-19 patients towards a more “symptoms-based approach”. This comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) also released their altered criteria. The WHO now advises that patients can be discharged “10 days after symptom onset, plus at least 3 additional days without symptoms.”
A Research-based Shift
Before this protocol revision, patients could only be released from the hospital after they have rendered negative results from two consecutive RT-PCR tests. Recent research found that RT-PCR tests are sensitive enough to detect residues of the virus. This sensitivity could possibly misdiagnose those who have already recovered from the disease.
New findings also revealed that COVID-19 patients are no longer infectious 10 days after the first appearance of symptoms. This is a change from the previously established 14-day period. This discovery may also lead to the revision of the total days of required quarantine for those discharged from the hospital. In the same conference, Undersecretary Vergeire stated that “we are talking with our experts right now to see if we can cut the additional quarantine period to seven days. So that’s part of what we are studying right now.”
Other Predicted Effects
This adaptive response to newly released research would hopefully improve our response to our COVID-19 patients. The department stated that with their new standard, the tally for recovered cases could consequently increase. This could ease our general consumption of PCR test kits. The double confirmatory tests for recovered cases will no longer be the required basis for release and could then be allocated for suspected cases. The shortened stay in the hospital and earlier transition towards home quarantine for recovered patients could also alleviate the hospitals’ strain from their currently limited resources such as bedspace and medical staff.
For laboratories and LGUs, the national demand for COVID-19 testing has put them in a similar bind. To address their crucial role in suppressing the spread of the virus, they’ll need testing kits and testing supplies. MEDTEK is now distributing needed products for both rapid antibody and RT-PCR testing.
• Innovita 2019-nCoV Ab Test (Colloidal Gold)
• GeneFinder COVID-19 Plus RealAmp Kit
• Disposable Virus Sampling Kit
• Zybio Nucleic Acid Purification System
• EX-MATE 32 Plus Nucleic Acid Extractor System
• GeneFinder Viral DNA/RNA Extraction Kit
• RIDA Xtract Extraction Kit
• HFsafe Biosafety Cabinet
• Biobase Biosafety Cabinet
For hospitals, testing laboratories, and LGUs interested in purchasing these products for their testing operations, please feel free to fill out the form below.
DOH revises protocol for discharging COVID-19 patients, studying shorter home quarantine – Philstar Global
DOH: COVID-19 patients no longer infectious after 10 days – Manila Bulletin
DOH changes rules in sending COVID-19 patients home; expects further rise in recoveries – Inquirer
Symptom-Based Strategy to Discontinue Isolation for Persons with COVID-19 – CDC
Criteria for releasing COVID-19 patients from isolation – WHO