ICMR issues new COVID guidelines: check who needs to get tested, who doesn’t

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Amid an increase in COVID-19 cases and increased detection of its highly contagious new variant of Omicron, the Medical Research Council of India (ICMR) on Monday released new guidelines on who should get tested. and who doesn’t.

In a new set of guidelines for testing COVID-19 samples, the main government body said contacts of COVID patients do not need to be tested unless they are identified as high risk according to age or comorbidities. He also said the risky contacts of patients would be those over the age of 60 and people with co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic lung or kidney disease, malignancy and obesity.

The ICMR Opinion on the Targeted Testing Strategy for COVID-19 said testing may be performed at the discretion of the attending physician with certain considerations.

Here are the ICMR guidelines on testing:

People who need to be tested:

In community settings:

– Symptomatic individuals (cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste and / or smell, shortness of breath and / or other respiratory symptoms).

– At-risk contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases. (The contacts at risk are the elderly (over 60 years) and people with co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic lung or kidney disease, malignant tumors, obesity, etc.)

– People undertaking international trips (depending on country specific requirements).

– International travelers arriving at Indian airports / seaports / ports of entry in accordance with established guidelines.

In a hospital environment:

Testing may be performed at the discretion of the attending physician taking into account the following considerations:

– No emergency procedure (including surgeries and childbirth) should be delayed for lack of testing.

– Patients should not be referred to other establishments for lack of a screening center. All arrangements should be made to collect and transfer samples to testing centers, mapped to the health facility.

– Asymptomatic patients undergoing invasive surgical / non-surgical procedures, including pregnant women in labor or near labor who are hospitalized for childbirth, should not be tested unless warranted or symptoms develop .

People who do not need to be tested:

– Asymptomatic individuals in community settings

– Contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 unless they are identified as high risk based on age or co-morbidities

– Patients who are discharged according to home isolation guidelines

– Patients discharged from a COVID-19 facility in accordance with the revised discharge policy

– People making interstate domestic journeys

The ICMR also said that testing can be performed either by RT-PCR, True Nat, CBNAAT, CRISPR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Molecular Testing Systems, or by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). The home test or self-test / RAT and molecular test should be considered confirmatory, without any repeat testing. Symptomatic people, whose home test / self-test or RAT is negative, should perform an RT-PCR test, according to the new ICMR guidelines.

India has reported 1,79,723 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s daily positivity rate to 13.29%, according to the Department of Health and Family Welfare on Monday.

A total of 4,033 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been reported to date. Maharashtra reported the highest number of cases (1,216), followed by Rajasthan (529) and Delhi (513).

About 1,552 patients infected with the new variant have recovered. The ministry further informed that the number of active cases in the country currently stands at 7 23,619, which represents 2.03 percent of the total number of cases in the country.

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