People kept for around 10 days after testing negative as opposed to 21 days earlier: TAG

During the live session on BBS, Dr. Tshokey talked about the procedures involved after a person has tested positive. “After collecting samples, they are tested in various hospitals with RT-+PCR facilities in the country and the test results first goes to Dr Sonam Wangchuk if it tests positive. The investigation team then receives the positive test results and they are responsible for making calls to individuals who tested positive and enquire with them. We aim to find out two things; the degree of severity of symptoms (whether he or she needs to be hospitalized) and to find out how many of the primary contacts have also been infected,” said the doctor.

Dr Tshokey also said that people testing positive are categorized into two groups; Symptomatic, those requiring intensive care or those with severe symptoms and underlying medical conditions and Asymptomatic or those showing mild or no symptoms.

As for the latter who were not at much risk from serious medical conditions, a vehicle is arranged and they are transported to hotels, restaurants, schools and community halls or they are simply home quarantined. If any person from the latter is later found to be at risk of severe conditions by the investigation team, then an ambulance is arranged immediately to transport the affected to the hospital.

Dr Tshokey said, “It is very convenient if the test results come out during daytime, but if it comes out during nighttime, for example at 1 am, we make sure to contact the person at that time immediately in order to prevent the person from making further contacts with any more people.”

If a person shows serious symptoms and are at risk of dying, utmost haste and priority is given to them from arrangements of ambulance to intensive care facilitated. During the first time when COVID was detected in the country and not much was known, some patients were quarantined for as long as 60 days.

After understanding the nature of the virus, patients were generally quarantined for 21 days and now during the outbreak of omicron the patients are kept for about 10 days after testing negative. The longest a person will be quarantined for omicron is about 17 days as of now according to Dr Tshokey. The doctor added that a person is only discharged after ensuring that that have completely recovered from the virus and is no longer able to transmit them to others, so people can be rest assured that they have nothing to worry about getting infected from those getting discharged.

Dr Tshokey also clarified that a woman who recently tested positive from Paro had actually never tested positive in the first place during the travel quarantine and it is very unlikely for a recovered person to test positive again, but it is still unsure whether she got infected from the quarantine facility itself or the community.

Currently there are about 2,000 cases of people infected, but the good news is that more number of people are recovering already. However, that does not mean people can take omicron virus leniently. For people traveling to other dzongkhags and areas, it is unnecessary to conduct the tests more than once.

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