Delhi govt issues new set of COVID-19 testing guidelines

Anup VermaNew Delhi: Amid highest ever spike in COVID-19 cases in Delhi in recent days, Delhi government has decided to revise its COVID-19 strategy. Director General of Health Services (DGHS) on Wednesday issued an order with new set of guidelines in this regard which will focus on testing of symptomatic patients.

The new guideline states that all symptomatic individuals with a history of international travel in the last 14 days, those who are contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases, healthcare workers, or frontline workers in containment areas will be tested. All patients of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), direct and high-risk contacts (diabetic, hypertension, cancer patient and senior citizen) of a confirmed case to be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming into contact with a confirmed case. SARI case is defined as "one with acute respiratory infection with fever more than 38C and cough and require hospitalization".

All symptomatic, ILI within hotspots/containment zones; all hospitalised patients who develop ILI symptoms; all symptomatic ILI among returnees and migrants within seven days of illness will be tested for covid-19. No emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed for lack of test. However, samples can be sent for testing if indicated as above (1-8) simultaneously. LI case is defined as "one with acute respiratory infection with fever more than 38C and cough". All testing in the above categories is recommended by real time RT-PCR test only.

The new guideline says that migrants or returnees from other places will only be tested if they are symptomatic, within 7 days of illness. The focus in the current guideline has been given to symptomatic cases amid reports about shortage of beds in Delhi hospitals.

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