Covid patients to be released quicker

New recommendations

30 July 2020 | Health

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

The deputy minister of health and social services Ester Muinjangue said on Wednesday that some patients being quarantined for Covid-19 at the Henties Bay Youth Hostel will be released.

The hostel currently serves as a quarantine and isolation facility.

Dr Kaveto Sikuvi of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it had been established that after about 14 days, people who have Covid-19 are no longer infectious.

He said this while accompanying the high-level government delegation assessing the Covid-19 situation in Walvis Bay.

“We know you are wondering why suddenly we are releasing people who tested positive. The answer is simple. Since the start of the pandemic, we have done extensive studies to try and understand it. We have established that after a certain period, people are longer infectious and this means that the person cannot infect others.”

Sikuvi said that the first 10 days after contracting the coronavirus is the most crucial.

“This is the time when a person carrying the virus is more infectious and can pass it on to other people. We have learned from studies that a person is no longer infectious after a certain period, which is about 10 days and over.”

He said that the ministry of health will be adding these new recommendations to the standard operating procedures pertaining to Covid-19.

“However, this does not mean because you are no longer infectious, you should not stick to the other health regulations. You need to wear your mask at all times, sanitize your hands and practice social distancing,” Sikuvi cautioned.

Reinfection possible

He explained that it was established that a person can be re-infected.

“After about three to six months you can be re-infected. That is why it is so important to adhere to the prevention control measures.”

The deputy health minister said to the residents of Otweya (formerly Twaloloka) that they should not discriminate against and stigmatize those who return from Henties Bay.

“We understand that many people in the facility are from Twaloloka. There is a tendency of discriminating against people who have tested positive for Covid-19. We should not chase them away but embrace them and treat them with dignity.”

She emphasised that the residents should adhere to the regulations set in place.

“We must protect ourselves at all times. Let us practice good hygiene and only move around when it is absolutely necessary. Let us stay home and remain safe.”

The procedure for releasing Covid-19 patients requires that such patients must have recovered fully from the virus and it involves testing negative twice for the virus, 24 hours apart.

New recommendations

The World Health Organisation also announced new recommendations last week for releasing Covid-19 patients from isolation.

The organisation recommends that symptomatic patients are discharged ten days after symptom onset, plus at least three additional days without symptoms (including being without fever and without respiratory symptoms), and ten days after a positive test for asymptomatic cases.

The recommendation states: “If a patient had symptoms for two days, then the patient could be released from isolation after ten days + three = 13 days from date of symptom onset; for a patient with symptoms for 14 days, the patient can be discharged (14 days + three days) = 17 days after date of symptom onset; for a patient with symptoms for 30 days, the patient can be discharged (30 + three =) 33 days after symptom onset.”

It also emphasises that countries may choose to continue to use testing as part of the release criteria. The new criteria applies to all Covid-19 cases regardless of the severity of the disease or location.

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