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First day of isolation will be based on date of swab test

FILE PHOTO. BING GONZALES

THE CITY Health Office (CHO) has issued an advisory reiterating that the swab date will determine the first day of isolation for a confirmed COVID-19 patient who is asymptomatic or has mild symptoms, regardless of the vaccination status.

City COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser bared this in an interview with the City Information Office on Monday, Jan. 31.

Ang City Health Office nagpagawas og advisory atong Jan. 19 kasi we have had several patients na mamakak on the dates of their symptoms or onset of symptoms, which will affect the isolation period sa isa ka COVID-19 positive (The CHO issued an advisory on January 19 since we have had several patients who lie about the dates of their symptoms or onset of symptoms, which will affect the isolation period of a COVID-19 positive),” she said.

“Therefore, kung mamakak sila sa ilang symptoms pwede nila ipa-shorten ang ilang isolation period to super short gyud. Muingon ra sila dugay na nigawas ilang symptoms wala na tay mapa-quarantine nila. We will avoid that. As much as possible, we have to isolate gyud ang positive patients and we will quarantine ang close contacts (Therefore if they lie about their symptoms, they can have it shortened. They can say that their symptoms manifested earlier [so] we cannot make them undergo quarantine. We will avoid that. As much as possible, we have to isolate the positive patients and we will quarantine their close contacts),” the city health official added.

Dr. Schlosser was referring to the advisory signed by Acting City Health Officer Dr. Ashley Lopez, stating that a fully vaccinated asymptomatic COVID-19 patient will have to undergo seven days of home or facility isolation from the swab date. The isolation period may be extended depending on the severity of the symptoms and assessment of the attending physician.

A fully vaccinated mild COVID-19 patient will also undergo seven days of home or facility isolation from the swab date, provided that the symptoms improve at least 72 hours before the set isolation days. Isolation may get extended, depending on the severity of the symptoms and assessment of the attending physician.

Meanwhile, partially or unvaccinated asymptomatic COVID-19 patients will have 10 days of either home or facility isolation from the swab date but if symptoms occur, their isolation may be extended, again, depending on the severity of symptoms and attending doctor’s assessment.

The partially or unvaccinated mild COVID-19 patient will also have 10 days of home or facility isolation from the date of the swab if the symptoms improve at least 72 hours before the set isolation days, depending on the severity and physician’s assessment.

Dr. Schlosser said the uniform first day of isolation based on the swab date for mild and asymptomatic cases will address the people’s confusion.

“So tanan, whether it may be mild or asymptomatic, we will start the first day of isolation on the date of the swab. For example, if your symptoms manifested two days ago and you get swabbed today, kung mag positive ka the next day, the swab date today is the first day of isolation (Whether it may be mild or asymptomatic, we will start the first day of isolation on the date of the swab. For example, if your symptoms manifested two days ago and you get swabbed today and if you turn positive the next day, today is the first day of isolation),” she explained.

Dr. Ashley’s advisory, however, maintains CHO Memorandum 055 series of 2022 on the isolation guidelines for moderate, severe, and critical regardless of vaccination status, which is based on the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.

CHO Memorandum 055 series of 2022 states that moderate cases, regardless of vaccination status, will isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms in the hospital. Hospital isolation will discontinue after the set period, provided the patient’s symptoms have improved as per the assessment and recommendation of the attending physician.

For severe and critical cases, regardless of vaccination status, a minimum of 21 isolation days at the hospital from the onset of symptoms is required but can be discontinued if the patient’s symptoms have improved based on the physician’s assessment and recommendation.

Repeat testing is not recommended for all asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe, and critical cases.

However, all symptomatic immunocompromised confirmed COVID-19 cases are required to undergo repeat testing and if the result still yields positive, they will be referred to an infectious disease specialist. However, if the repeat swab yields negative results, they may be discharged from isolation.

Symptomatic immunocompromised confirmed cases will also have 21 days of facility or hospital isolation from the onset of symptoms. Isolation will be discontinued once the patient’s symptoms have improved.

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