Taipei, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Wednesday it was revising its medical criteria for the discharge of COVID-19 patients in negative pressure isolation rooms in hospital, based on new scientific evidence.
The new evidence shows that a patient is highly unlikely to spread COVID-19 more than 10 days after they first developed symptoms and if their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for the disease shows a cycle threshold (CT) level of over 30, the CECC said.
Scientists in Taiwan have been unable to cultivate COVID-19 viruses from COVID-19 patients with a CT level of 34 or above, which indicates that such patients are not likely to be contagious, according to CECC advisor Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳).
If a patient, therefore, has passed the 10-day mark and has not had any symptoms for at least three days, they will be discharged from their negative pressure isolation room following two consecutive tests with a CT level of 34 or above, or one negative test and one test with a CT level of 34 or above, the CECC said.
In the late stages of the infection, COVID-19 tests often fluctuate between positive and negative, and the new policy, effective immediately, will prevent isolation of hospital patients for longer than necessary, the CECC said.
The new criteria are a revision of the rules that required two consecutive negative PCR tests administered at least 24 hours apart, according to the CECC.
In cases where a patient has not had any symptoms for three days and has received the required COVID-19 test results, but 10 days have not yet passed since the first symptoms appeared, the CECC said, it will decide whether they can be removed from the isolation unit.
The CECC said, however, that removal from an isolation ward does not necessarily mean full discharge from hospital, as there are rare cases in which a patient might still require hospital treatment.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel