Monday, February 26, 2024

Guidelines on retesting cured COVID patients


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SHILLONG, Jan 11: The Health department has laid down specific guidelines with regard to retesting of COVID-19 patients, who have been cured of the disease, so as to effectively manage the pandemic situation in Meghalaya.
In a statement issued here, Principal Secretary of Health department, Sampath Kumar, said, “Persons who have been infected with COVID-19 are identified to be PCR-positive over prolonged period of time after infection and clinical recovery as viral RNA shedding has been observed for as long as 104 days from symptom onset in upper respiratory tract specimens. There are also patients who become PCR negative. This is due to low concentration of virus in the sampled material or the virus concentration is around the detection limit of a test. The detection of COVID-19 RNA through PCR (viral RNA shedding) does not equate to the presence of viable, infectious virus within a patient”.
According to the Health department’s statement, retesting is not recommended within three months of recovery for persons previously declared cured of COVID-19 and who remains asymptomatic after recovery.
In asymptomatic patients, retesting may be done within three months of recovery prior to surgery, dialysis, etc.
Now, no surgical procedures should be deferred based on a positive result in an asymptomatic patient who has recovered from COVID-19, as per the guidelines.
If new symptoms are developed consistent with COVID-19 within three months of recovery, then the person may require retesting, especially if the symptoms develop within 14 days after close contact with another infected person.
Persons being evaluated for re-infection with COVID-19 should be isolated under recommended precautions while undergoing evaluation, it said, while adding that under such situations, the clinical profile and epidemiological link should be carefully assessed while interpreting as positive result. It added that serologic testing should not be used to establish the presence or absence of COVID-19 infection or re-infection.


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