The Department of Health (DOH) is looking into shortening the additional 14-day home quarantine period before a discharged patient could be declared recovered, after it was recently found that COVID-19 patients were no longer infectious after 10 days.
“Atin pong pinag-aaralan ngayon kung saka-sakali ito pong additional na 14 days pagkatapos niyang ma-discharge sa ospital o di kaya’y sa quarantine facility kung kailangan ay mag-quarantine pa sa bahay or stepdown facilities kung mababawasan pa natin into just seven days,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during the Laging Handa public briefing on Saturday.
“May lumabas last week [na study] na sinasabi po na ang isang tao na nagka-COVID-19 pagdating ng 10th day of illness ay hindi na siya nakapanghahawa,” Vergeire said.
Vergeire added that, because of the new finding, the DOH had amended its discharge protocols.
“Tayo nag shift sa ating protocol kung saan hindi na natin ire-require i-test ang mga idi-discharge sa ospital at saka sa quarantine,” Vergeire said.
The DOH earlier required patients to test negative in two consecutive RT-PCR tests before being discharged.
But under the new protocols, patients would have to stay at a facility 10 days after symptom onset, plus at least three additional days without symptoms, before being discharged.
After discharge, the patient still needs to undergo another 14-day quarantine at home before being considered as recovered.
Vergeire emphasized that it was this 14-day home quarantine requirement that could be abbreviated and not the initial 14-day quarantine./Stacy Ang