Stage 1: Tested positive but shows no symptoms.
Stage 2: Tested positive, and has mild upper respiratory tract infections.
Published 14 Jan 2021, 4:13 pm
Modified 7:01 pm
COVID-19 | With the healthcare system at breaking point due to the surge in the number of Covid-19 patients, the Ministry of Health is trying several new approaches to ease the burden.
Yesterday, the ministry issued a new circular containing changes in contact tracing and priority for swab tests.
According to Health Ministry sources, they would no longer test every individual identified as close contacts to Covid-19 positive patients and instead only test those with symptoms.
“All close contacts must be identified, ordered to undergo isolation and monitoring at home. However, Covid-19 screening test would be done only on close contacts who are symptomatic,” said the notice sighted by Malaysiakini.
In the case of contact tracing involving an infection cluster, only a number of samples would be taken, depending on the size of close contacts identified.
The circular states that it would suffice to take 20 samples if the number of exposed individuals in the cluster is less than 50.
“If the number exceeds 50, then it would suffice to take 30 samples, or 10 percent, whichever is lower.”
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (above), when contacted today, confirmed that the Health Ministry has mandated these new procedures.
He said the new plan was devised as they are now allowing Covid-19 positive patients to undergo isolation at their respective homes, or in the case of workers, at hostels or hotels at their employers’ expense.
“This is a (new) working procedure because we are considering employing the method of quarantining at either home, hostel or hotel, besides hospitals and low-risk quarantine centres,” he said in a text message.
“Priority is to test symptomatic individuals first,” Noor Hisham added in another text message, without elaborating further.
The circular also states that close contacts who have been tested and found negative have to be quarantined “in cohort” at a suitable residential facility, based on risk assessment of the exposed individuals.
Quarantine will last 10 days from the last date of close contact with a Covid-19 positive patient. If any in the group starts showing symptoms for the virus, the individual must be isolated and undergo a swab test.
In the event an individual tests positive, then the other members of the cohort have to continue their quarantine for another 10 days.
PUTRAJAYA, Jan 12 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has established that levels one and two COVID-19 patients will undergo treatment and quarantine at home, while being monitored strictly by health workers, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
He said a task force has been formed at the Crisis Preparedness and Emergency Response Centre (CPRC) level, state and district levels to monitor patients being treated at home.
However, he said patients with symptoms would be treated in hospitals and the usual monitoring would be carried out.
“We are doing this as we need to act fast in treating and isolating positive cases and to this end, the MoH will continue with the contact tracing in efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” he told reporters after attending the MOH’s New Year mandate ceremony here today.
Dr Adham said the levels one and two patients would be quarantined at home for 10 days and a screening test would be conducted on them on the last day.
“The screening test will be done in their respective homes and if the result is negative, they are free from COVID-19,” he said.
Dr Adham said ministry staff would assess the size of the house and number of occupants before allowing these patients to undergo treatment at their respective homes, adding that if the house is small or crowded, the patients would be taken to the hospital.
“If the facilities at home are satisfactory, with sufficient space for isolation and the family understands the need for quarantine and the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the MoH … they will be treated at home,” he added.
He said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah would give details on the home treatment and quarantine soon.
On Jan 4, Dr Noor Hisham reportedly said MoH was considering isolating and treating COVID-19 patients who are without symptoms and or with mild symptoms at home, as the existing health facilities were not able to cope with the surge in daily cases.