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Asymptomatic cases excluded in DOH's new COVID-19 classifications
Frontline workers are seen during the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines
The STAR/Edd Gumban

Asymptomatic cases excluded in DOH's new COVID-19 classifications

Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - April 11, 2020 - 4:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health on Saturday released a new set of guidelines for detecting cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which no longer account for asymptomatic (no symptoms) cases with exposure history as "persons under monitoring."



The new classifications to be used – adapting provisions of the World Health Organization's interim guidance on global surveillance for COVID-19 – are "suspect," "probable" and "confirmed."

"Since January 28...the Philippines has used decision tools to classify individuals as either Patients Under Investigation or Persons Under Monitoring,” read the Health department’s Administrative Order 2020-0013 dated Thursday.

“However, the evidence of local and community transmission of COVID-19 necessitated a review on the assessment and classification of individuals with the aim of early detection and laboratory confirmation, especially among high risk and vulnerable populations, to guide appropriate clinical management and referral.”

This amended the previous Administrative Order 2020-0012 dated March 17 where PUMs are included in detection, reporting and epidemiologic investigation by disease surveillance officers.

"Because of local or community transmission in the [Philippines], its residents are assumed to have been exposed to the infection," read a note in the new guidelines explaining why PUMs are not included in the latest case definitions.

Philstar.com has attempted to reach Health Secretary Francisco Duque III for additional clarification but he has not responded as of writing.

In its interim guidance cited by the DOH, the WHO previously said that “countries may need to adapt case definitions depending on their local epidemiological situation and other factors.”

Meanwhile, the Health department’s dedicated live COVID-19 tracker — which previously included PUIs and PUMs among its displayed indicators — is offline and “under maintenance.”

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH NOVEL CORONAVIRUS WHO WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
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