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

/ 09:10 PM January 12, 2022
DOH drops test for asymptomatic close contact of COVID patient; contact tracing in community transmission

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

MANILA, Philippines — A coronavirus-positive close contact who is asymptomatic would no longer need to undergo a test, according to the Department of Health (DOH), as contact tracing is not a priority intervention anymore during community transmission of the virus.

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

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“(S)pecifically, testing should not be required for asymptomatic close contacts, instead symptoms monitoring is recommended,” she said.

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

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

Vergeire likewise said in the same press briefing: “At this point, wherein we already have community transmission, contact tracing is not recommended as a priority intervention.”

Also on Wednesday, the DOH issued its latest guidelines on quarantine and isolation periods for COVID-19 close contacts and positive persons, reducing the duration for fully vaccinated people.

The country is dealing with aggressive increases in fresh coronavirus infections following the holidays with 208,164 currently sick of COVID-19, the serious respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2.

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

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TAGS: community intervention, contact tracing, COVID-19, DoH, pandemic, testing
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