DOH drops test for asymptomatic close contact with COVID patient; contact tracing in community transmission

FILE PHOTO: A health worker performs a swab test for a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a gymnasium in Navotas City, Metro Manila, Philippines August 7, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

MANILA, Philippines – A coronavirus-positive and asymptomatic close contact would no longer need to be tested, according to the Department of Health (DOH), as contact tracing is no longer a priority intervention during community transmission of the virus. virus.

DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a Wednesday press briefing that “testing will now be optional for community-level actions.”

“(S)specifically, testing should not be required for asymptomatic close contacts, but symptom monitoring is recommended,” she said.

“Testing should not be recommended for screening asymptomatic people,” she added.

But in case a coronavirus test still needs to be done, the DOH official said it should be done at least five days from the day of exposure.

Vergeire also said in the same news outlet: “At this point, where we already have community transmission, contact tracing is not recommended as a priority intervention.”

Also on Wednesday, the DOH released its latest guidance on quarantine and isolation periods for close contacts of COVID-19 and positive individuals, reducing the duration for those fully vaccinated.

The country is facing an aggressive rise in new coronavirus infections after the holidays with 208,164 people currently sick with COVID-19, the serious respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

SARS-CoV-2 is the latest strain of coronavirus first detected in China in late 2019. It has also undergone a number of mutations since 2020 that have resulted in various variants, including Delta and Omicron – believed to be the most contagious all.


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