Ministry of Health updates the algorithm to terminate quarantine

The Ministry of Health has updated the algorithms for PCR testing, which take into account the new findings to terminate quarantine measures. Based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Clinical Group attached to the Ministry of Health has prepared a new procedure for terminating the isolation of patients with COVID-19 disease and a new algorithm for terminating quarantine for those exposed to persons with COVID-19.

“The algorithm was updated in connection with the WHO recommendations, and also because our own data and findings from the Czech Republic concerning the period of the virus’s survival in the patients nasopharynx have shown that the virus is viable for 8-10 days on the mucous membranes of most patients. Therefore, patients with repeatedly proven PCR positivity are positive in laboratory terms, but it is a dead virus that is detected and the patient is not infectious for others and need not be isolated for the entire time that they are positive. In accordance with the WHO, the Clinical Group therefore adopted the option of a time strategy, where the time factor plays a key role in deciding about the patient’s infectiousness,” said Roman Chlíbek, professor of epidemiology and member of the Clinical Group.

Now, virus cultivation will be performed among patients with longer-lasting PCR test positivity, and in the case of a negative result and absence of clinical symptoms of the disease, the patient will be considered non-infectious for further procedure.

Patients who are PCR positive and have no clinical symptoms of the disease (asymptomatic patients) are ordered 14 days of isolation from the first PCR test, and now this isolation can be terminated without a PCR test.

Patients who are PCR positive without a clinically serious course of the COVID-19 disease but with symptoms thereof are ordered 14 days of isolation from the first PCR test. This isolation can now be terminated after the passing of at least 14 days, of which at least 4 days must be without clinical symptoms of COVID-19 disease. Under these conditions, quarantine is terminated without a PCR test.

The Clinical Group also updated the algorithm for testing using the PCR method for epidemiologically relevant exposure to COVID-19 patients, in that quarantine measures are imposed and a PCR test is recommended within the 1st to 5th day from contact with the patient, depending on the performed epidemiological examination. If the test is positive, isolation for 14 days is ordered, followed by the procedure pursuant to the algorithms above. In the case of a negative test, another PCR test is performed on the 14th day from the epidemiologically relevant exposure and, in the case of a negative test, the ordered quarantine may be terminated and the patient is considered to be non-infectious going forward.

In the case of a positive PCR test, isolation for 14 days is ordered, followed by the procedure pursuant to the algorithms above.

The updated method of PCR testing algorithms and algorithms for terminating quarantine for patients with COVID-19 and the termination of quarantine for those exposed to COVID-19 patients has been sent to the respective organisations, including an update of the strategy for laboratory testing of the COVID-19 disease, examination indications and compensations with effect from 8 July 2020.