Contacts of COVID-19 patients don’t need to get tested unless…: ICMR in revised guidelines

New Delhi: Contacts of COVID-19 patients do not need to get tested unless identified as “high-risk” based on age or comorbidities, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said in its latest guideline on Monday (January 10, 2022).

The ICMR Advisory on Purposive Testing Strategy for COVID-19 in India also stated that individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travels do not need to get tested either.

People who need not be tested?

  • Asymptomatic individuals in community settings.
  • Contacts of confirmed cases of COVID-19 unless identified as high risk based on age or comorbidities.
  • Patients who stand discharged as per home isolation guidelines.
  • Patients being discharged from a COVID-19 facility as per revised discharge policy.
  • Individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel.

People who may be tested?

In community settings:

  • Symptomatic (cough, fever, sore throat, loss of taste and/or smell, breathlessness and/or other respiratory symptoms) individuals.
  • At-risk contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases. At-risk contacts are elderly (>60yr) and individuals with comorbidity such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic lung or kidney disease, malignancy, obesity etc.
  • Individuals undertaking international travel (as per country-specific requirements).
  • International travellers arriving at Indian airports/seaports/ports of entries as per laid down guidelines.

In Hospital Settings:

Testing may be undertaken as per the discretion of the treating doctor with the following considerations:

  • No emergency procedure (including surgeries and deliveries) should be delayed for lack of a test.
  • Patients should not be referred to other facilities for lack of a testing facility. All arrangements should be made to collect and transfer samples to testing facilities, mapped to the health facility.
  • Asymptomatic patients undergoing surgical / non-surgical invasive procedures including pregnant women in/near labour who are hospitalized for delivery should not be tested unless warranted or symptoms develop.
  • Admitted patients may not be tested more than once a week.

The government body said that testing can be undertaken either through RT-PCR, TrueNat, CBNAAT, CRISPR, RT-LAMP, Rapid Molecular Testing Systems or through Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).

A positive point-of-care test (home or self-test/RAT) and the molecular test are to be considered confirmatory without any repeat testing, the advisory said.

Symptomatic individuals, testing negative on home/self-test or RAT should undertake RT-PCR test, it stated.

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