Asymptomatic persons who test positive for COVID-19 being released from isolation 

Dr Shamdeo Persaud, Chief Medical Officer

Persons who test positive for COVID-19, but are asymptomatic, are being released from isolation – under new guidelines approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This was confirmed by Chief Medical Officer Dr Shamdeo Persaud who explained that though these individuals have been released, they will be monitored for a period of seven days.

He explained that before they are released from institutional isolation, they have to show no symptoms for some three consecutive days.

After being discharged, they will be monitored by health officials and if any symptoms appear, they will have to be isolated. On the seventh day of being discharged, asymptomatic patients would have to undergo a clinical evaluation.

“We are going with the guidelines published by the WHO. They put out some new guidelines about the middle of July and we started to implement that,” Dr Persaud told this publication.

“So once they complete the full WHO 14 days [isolation], we release them with the understanding that they continue to be monitored for another seven days. We have a call in system and if any sign or symptom reoccur we would immediately re-institute the control measures.”

The WHO has recommended that “based on evidence showing the rarity of virus that can be cultured in respiratory samples after 9 days after symptom onset, especially in patients with mild disease, usually accompanied by rising levels of neutralizing antibodies and a resolution of symptoms, it appears safe to release patients from isolation based on clinical criteria that require a minimum time in isolation of 13 days, rather than strictly on repeated PCR results.”

WHO further noted that “it is important to note that the clinical criteria require that patients’ symptoms have been resolved for at least three days before release from isolation, with a minimum time in isolation of 13 days since symptom onset.”

Previously, the guideline for releasing COVID-19 patients required them to be fully clinically recovered from the virus and to have two negative RT-PCR results on sequential samples taken at least 24 hours apart.

The CMO was unable to say how many asymptomatic persons have since been released from isolation facilities in Guyana.

As of July 26, Guyana recorded 370 COVID-19 cases with 181 recoveries and 20 deaths. The number of active cases is 169.