Covid-19 Definitions

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The Council of Medical Schemes has issued official definitions with respect to Covid-19. These might be relevant when deciding whether you should quarantine, or when speaking to your medical aid.

Confirmed cases:

A confirmed case is a person with laboratory confirmation (RT -PCR assay) of infection with the COVID-19 virus, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. Symptomatic cases
are considered infectious from 2 days before symptom onset to 14 days after symptom onset.

Suspected case:

(A person to be tested for COVID19)
A suspected COVID-19 case includes any person presenting with an acute (≤14 days) respiratory tract infection or other clinical illness compatible with COVID-19, or an asymptomatic person who is a close contact to a confirmed case.

In the context of COVID-19, the key respiratory syndrome consists of ANY of:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Anosmia (loss of sense of smell) or dysgeusia (alteration of the sense of taste) with or without other symptoms (which may include fever, weakness, myalgia, or diarrhoea).

Note: Asymptomatic close contacts should not be routinely tested despite meeting the suspected case definition. However, testing may be indicated in certain circumstances (e.g. institutions such as care homes).

RT-PCR testing for COVID-19 is PMB level of care upon referral from a health care worker (doctor or nurse) who has screened a patient. Patients to be tested are individuals who meet the criteria for a person under investigation.

Close contact:

A person having had face-to-face contact (≤1 metre) or having been in a closed space with a confirmed COVID-19 case for at least 15 minutes. This includes, amongst others:

  • All persons living in the same household as a COVID-19 case, and people working closely in the same environment as a case.
  • Healthcare workers or other people providing direct care for a COVID-19 case while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., gowns, gloves, N95
    respirator, eye protection).
  • A contact in an any mode of transportation where passenger details are captured sitting within two seats (in any direction) of the case, travel companions or persons providing care, and crew members serving in the section where the case was seated.

Source: This information is sourced directly from Council of Medical Schemes website, and their document titled PMB definition guideline: COVID-19 v5 and does not rely on our own independent research

Image: “coronavirus-covid-19” by Nursing Schools Near Me is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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