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How medical teams determine when someone has COVID-19

Global health authorities follow a process to determine if you may be infected. This is how they do it.

This photo taken on 17 February 2020 shows a member of the medical staff (L) checking the body temperature of a patient who has displayed mild symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at an exhibition centre converted into a hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. Picture: AFP

You may have wondered how medical teams determine if someone has Covid-19. They begin by determining if the person in question had exposure to someone with Covid-19.

If they did they would determine if the exposure presented a low risk of transmission or high risk.

Low-risk cases will be asked to self-monitor for 14 days while high-risk cases will actively be monitored by the relevant health authority.

Should symptoms develop during the 14 days, the person will be isolated and tested. Should the test be positive, officials will begin tracking down anyone that may have been in contact with then in the previous period and start the process again.

Should no symptoms present - or if the lab tests are negative - the person is considered to no longer be a potential Covid-19 risk.

Algorithm for the management of contacts of probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Person Under Investigation (PUI)

For those who are being observed because they may have been exposed, or if someone wanted to self-report, they become a person under investigation (PUI).

There are certain criteria that will determine if someone becomes a PUI.

According to the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases, the following need to be present.

"Persons with acute respiratory illness with sudden onset of at least one of the following: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever [≥ 38°C (measured) or history of fever (subjective)] irrespective of admission status

AND

In the 14 days before the onset of symptoms, met at least one of the following epidemiological criteria:

Were in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of SARS-CoV-2 infection;

OR

Had a history of travel to areas with presumed ongoing community transmission of SARS-CoV-2; i.e., Mainland China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Iran, Hong Kong, Italy, Vietnam and Taiwan.

OR

Worked in, or attended a health care facility where patients with SARS-CoV-2 infections were being treated.

OR

Admitted with severe pneumonia of unknown aetiology.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How medical teams determine when someone has COVID-19