KZN medical expert suggests Covid patients isolate for 14 days

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A KWAZULU-NATAL doctor has recommended people who test positive for Covid-19 should quarantine for 14 days instead of the prescribed 10 days.

Dr Kams Govender of the Value Health Hillcrest Medical & Urgent Care Centre said those currently exposed to a Covid-19 positive contact cannot take for granted that they are in the clear after day five of exposure, if they have not experienced symptoms, as was the case in the second wave.

“Patients who have been identified as high risk exposure might have to wait a longer period and based on the current trends, my personal recommendation would be that the prescribed 10 day quarantine period be extended to 14 days,” he said.

Govender said most patients he has seen are becoming infectious after their prescribed 10 day quarantine period.

“This implies that the Delta variant has a longer incubation period where people return to their workplace and communities while still infectious. The point at where one is most infectious is usually two days before the start of symptoms and one remains infectious throughout the active immune response which is fever, rigours, body aches and headaches,” Govender explained.

Previously Covid positive patients had to isolate or quarantine for 14 days, however this was dropped to 10.

Govender said another concern was the lack of governance, control and mandatory reporting of Covid-19 testing during the third wave.

He said Covid-19 was a notifiable disease and the Department of Health policies and response were based on stats provided.

“In the first and second wave, all Covid-19 diagnosis was done by accredited laboratories using PCR. If one tests positive, the patient is flagged and registered on the National Institute for Communicable Disease database which allowed the Department of Health to put out these small fires in hotspot areas quickly and effectively,” Govender said.

He said currently in the third wave, most patients were opting for cheaper rapid Antigen tests which are carried out by multiple private companies/sites, which have no direct link to the NICD or CDC database in order to update their stats. This therefore will delay government response.

On Thursday, KZN recorded the highest number of daily new infections. According to the NICD, the majority of new cases are from KwaZulu-Natal (29%), followed by Western Cape (27%). The Eastern Cape accounted for 11%; Gauteng accounted for 12%; Free State accounted for 6%; Mpumalanga for 5%; Northern Cape and North West for 4% each; and Limpopo for 2%.

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