DOH-6 reiterates guidelines on expanded COVID-19 testing
ILOILO CITY, June 23 (PIA) — The Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH WV CHD) reiterated its guidelines on expanded testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to cover all individuals who are at risk of contracting the disease.
DOH Department Memorandum No. 2020-0258 was adopted in view of the increased RT-PCR (Reverse Transmission Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing capacity of the country.
The new subgroups broaden the coverage of persons to be tested to include suspect cases, individuals with travel history and exposure, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, and healthcare workers with possible exposure, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Dr. Marlyn Convocar, DOH WV CHD Regional Director, said that they emphasized that indiscriminate RT-PCR testing beyond close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case is not recommended.
“The DOH has also outlined the subgroups of at risk individuals with the greatest and lowest need for testing,” she said.
She said prioritized for testing are those in Subgroup A or patients or health care workers with severe or critical symptoms, relevant history or travel or contact.
The following list of subgroups of individuals are considered at-risk and are eligible for testing, arranged from greatest to lowest need for testing:
● Subgroup A: patients or healthcare workers with severe/critical symptoms, and relevant history of travel or close contact;
● Subgroup B: patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, with relevant history of travel or close contact and who are considered vulnerable. These vulnerable populations include the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions that predispose them to severe presentation and complications of COVID-19;
● Subgroup C: patients or healthcare workers with mild symptoms, and relevant history of travel or close contact;
● Subgroup D: patients or healthcare workers with no symptoms but with relevant travel history and close contact;
● Subgroup E: frontliners indirectly involved in healthcare provision in the response against COVID 19; and
● Subgroup F: other vulnerable patients such as those with comorbidities, those who will undergo high-risk, elective surgical procedures, those living in confined spaces, among others.
In particular, those in Subgroup E include the following: personnel manning temporary treatment and quarantine facilities; personnel manning control points; National/Regional/Local Risk Reduction and Management teams; Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and barangay officials providing barangay border control; personnel of Bureau of Corrections and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology; personnel serving at COVID-19 swabbing center; social workers providing amelioration and relief assistance to communities and performing COVID-19 related tasks
Meanwhile, those in Subgroup F include the following: pregnant patients who shall be tested during the peripartum period; and dialysis patients and immune-compromised patients with HIV, those chemotherapy or radiotherapy. (JSC/LTP/PIA-Iloilo)