Dubai: Patients admitted to isolation facilities with asymptomatic or mild symptoms and who are stable and without fever for three days can now be discharged without being tested negative for COVID-19, according to new interim guidelines issued by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to isolation facilities. However, this rule does not apply to healthcare professionals who might be asymptomatic or mild. They must undergo two consecutive negative swab tests, 24 hours apart, before being given a clean chit.
The criteria for discharge of asymptomatic and mild patients are as follows:
• Patient’s temperature is below 37.5 degrees Celsius without any medication for three days
• Improvement in respiratory symptoms in case of mild patients (No cough, shortness of breath) for 72 hours
• Patient is stable and does not require any medical intervention
• The 14 days need not be at the isolation facility. The 14 days are calculated from the first COVID-19 positive test from the onset of symptoms as determined by the treating doctor
Moderate, severe, critical and symptomatic patients can be discharged if they have:
* Two consecutive respiratory specimens negative tests for COVID 19 that are 24 hours apart
• Patient is afebrile for more than three days without the use of fever-reducing medications
• Patient has improved/minimal respiratory symptoms and pulmonary imaging (CXR/ HRCT) shows significant improvement
• All patients in this category have to be self-isolated at home for seven days and have a sick leave documented in medical record
• Discharged patients to be followed in the clinic in the hospital after two weeks, unless patient develops respiratory symptoms to attend earlier
•If asymptomatic at two weeks, no more follow ups are required
Commenting on the new guidelines, Dr Kavita Krishnan, head of laboratory at Prime Health Care, said: “This is being done as per new medical research on how long does a patient remain infectious and also for optimal utilisation of the isolation facilities as well as ensuring that the viral testing facilities reach those who truly require them.” Dr Krishan further clarified why health care professionals still needed to undergo two negative negative swab tests.
“In case of health care professionals, it is still important for them to test negative and because they deal with vulnerable and immunocompromised patients with co-morbidities and therefore they need to have a complete clean chit before they report back to work,” added Dr Krishnan.
Various international studies are being conducted on the potential of the virus shed by patients infecting others. According to a study conducted by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the top agency of the European Union, scientists failed to grow the virus collected in petri-dish from sputum samples of asymptomatic patients after more than one week.