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No PCR negative needed; Gwen wants ‘time based’ discharge for COVID patients

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 01,2020 - 09:21 AM

Talisay City Health Office personnel conduct swab tests in Sitio Laray, Barangay San Roque after a resident tested positive for COVID-19. | Photo Courtesy of Mayor Samsam Gullas’ Facebook page

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients in Cebu province who are already “well” after 21 days of isolation may no longer be required a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test in order to go home.

This as the province intends to adopt the “time-based discharge” approach in managing its residents who contracted the virus.

The Capitol, in a news release on Sunday, May 31, 2020, said the move is patterned from Singapore’s revision of its criteria on the discharge of its COVID-19 patient without the need to render a negative PCR result.

Last May 28, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said they found in their analysis on the latest local and international data that “viable virus was not found in COVID-19 patients after the second week of illness despite the persistence of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection of ribonucleic acid (RNA).”

According to the MOH, this observation means that patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are not likely to be infectious after Day 14 of the illness and are no longer infectious on Day 21.

“There is consensus amongst infectious disease experts based on the clinical data presented locally and internationally that the risk of secondary transmission of COVID-19 is unlikely by Day 14 of onset of illness. COVID-19 patients are usually most infectious one to two days before the onset of symptoms and the infectivity declines thereafter,” the Singapore MOH said.

The Cebu Provincial Information Office has quoted Governor Gwendolyn Garcia saying that the province will already adopt Singapore’s mindset and “accentuated” that “Testing, testing, testing is illogical.”

“We will adopt the Singapore method. Dili na kinahanglan nga mag-inatang ta kanus-a ma-negative ang nag-positive usa ma-release (We no longer have to wait when a COVID-19 patient will test negative of the infection.),” Garcia said.

In her previous virtual pressers that were aired on the PIO-run Facebook page, Sugbo News, Garcia has called on the public to proportionate their fear of COVID-19 based on available local data.

Garcia said that the virus, which caused over two months of community quarantine in the country and a global economic slowdown so far, is not as deadly as people have feared when the pandemic started late December 2019 and while it continued to spread until February of this year, citing its “very low” death rate as compared to other diseases.

Garcia also said the public should instead boost their immune systems using home remedies, which she earlier recommended, in order to fight the risk of the infection.

“We should shake off from our zombie-ness. We should now reboot, reset and change our mindset from where we started, given the data, it beholds upon us to reach a more informed and wise decision because this is already affecting lives and livelihoods,” the governor told the mayors,” Garcia said during a meeting with the mayors last Saturday, May 30.

“It is time for us to go back to our real jobs, not as chiefs of police or sentries or coast guards but our real jobs as chief executives that must set the direction of each of our LGUs aspiring for better lives of our constituents. We cannot do this if we continue to cower in fear and impose such difficult restrictions,” she added. / dcb

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