COVID-19: NCDC Says Patients To Be Discharged Without Testing Negative


The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday June 4, said a negative laboratory test is no longer required to discharge a COVID-19 patient, as symptomatic patients will be discharged earlier than usual after they have stop showing symptoms of the disease – fever and respiratory symptoms).

Also, asymptomatic patients will now be discharge 14 days after their first positive test to the virus.

This is based on new data from Singapore that shows that RNA detected beyond 10 days is no longer infectious as no viable virus is grown by viral culture. Therefore, such patients will be discharged but advised to continue self-isolating at home one week after discharge.

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The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who made this known at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, said: “There have been new science emerging about the duration of infectivity of individual patients. It led to the WHO issuing new clinical guidelines.

“We then convened colleagues across our organisation, the department of hospital services of the Federal Ministry of Health, as well as other colleagues with whom we work, to review our guidelines and issue new guidelines for the country and of course adapting it to local circumstances.

“The key thing is that the management of COVID-19 will be made primarily supportive; we don’t have any treatment so far that has any proven impact on morbidity.

“One of the major changes that have happened is the discharge criteria. While these guidelines are obviously and primarily targeted at physicians managing patients, it is important that patients and people know. There are two groups of patients –  symptomatic and asymptomatic patients.

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“For symptomatic patients, they may now be discharged at least 10 days after symptoms onset and at least 3 days without symptoms. If your symptoms last for longer, we will wait for longer managing you supportively.

“If you are asymptomatic, you can be discharged 14 days after your first positive test. So, we no longer have to wait for a negative test to discharge. This way you can go home with confidence that you are no longer infective and you’re not putting your family and friends or anyone else at risk.

“We are not encouraging that people be discharged while they are still symptomatic. We are talking about discharging people that are asymptomatic and have recovered. That is, you are symptomatic and have recovered or you are completely asymptomatic throughout your clinical episodes”, he added

On the use and availability of personal protective equipment (PPEs), The NATION reports that the NCDC boss urged both public and private hospitals to procure their own PPEs and factor it into the cost for healthcare delivery.

He said, “Our hospitals both public and private, really need to include the purchasing of personal protective equipment in their procurement plans. These are things that they have to buy to keep their hospital going.

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“What we are doing now is simply a response to an outbreak –  managing logistics, sending around PPEs across the country. This is definitely not what we should be doing as a country. So, that has to change as we refigure our health system to include this.”



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