The Kerala government on Saturday revised the guidelines for COVID-19 testing. As per the new guidelines, rapid antigen test has to be conducted on people with influenza like illness (ILI) who are not COVID suspects. The preferred time of test for such people are within five days of the onset of symptoms.
Influenza like illness means fever and any one of the symptoms like cough, coryza and sore throat. Earlier, COVID test was not conducted on all those with ILI.
For people with ILI who come from COVID clusters, rapid antigen test has to be done as early as possible during the symptomatic period.
Another major directive in the revised guidelines is that RT-PCR has to be done on patients with severe acute respiratory infection as early as possible during the symptomatic period.
For patients from containment zones who require hospital admission for other illnesses, rapid antigen test has to be conducted on admission.
In large community clusters, rapid antigen test will be done on asymptomatic vulnerable persons in the beginning of containment period. People belonging to the vulnerable category are those aged above 60, antenatal and immediate postnatal, children with severe malnutrition and persons with severe co-morbidity.
For people who are asymptomatic high risk primary contacts of cases confirmed in labs, rapid antigen test has to be done on the eighth day from the last contact.
The revised guidelines were issued by the principal secretary, health department.
The new guidelines came even as the state recorded 1,608 more coronavirus cases on Saturday.
Health Minister K K Shailaja, presently in isolation, said in a statement that 14,891 positive patients were under treatment in various hospitals, whereas 27,779 others have been cured so far.
Since Friday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and seven of his Cabinet colleagues are in self-isolation after Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan tested corona positive. The collector was coordinating rescue work after an Air India Express flight crash at the Karipur airport on August 7. The next day, the chief minister and his Cabinet colleagues visited the accident site, where Gopalakrishnan was also present.