The Health Department has issued new guidelines governing the testing process for people who have recovered from Covid-19 but are still showing up positive in medical tests.
Use of the RT-PCR test on patients who have recovered could lead to positive results more than 100 days after the first onset of symptoms, the notification, dated January 8 but released to the press today, said. This is because of viral remnants still within the body being detected by the test but they are not infectious.
Therefore, for people who have been deemed to have recovered from the coronavirus and who remain asymptomatic thereafter, retesting is not recommended for three months after recovery. However, they should be tested if having to undergo surgery, dialysis or other such treatments.
“No surgical procedures should be deferred based on a positive result in an asymptomatic patient who has recovered from Covid-19,” the guidelines, signed by Principal Secretary Sampath Kumar, said.
Recovered patients “may require” retesting if they develop Covid symptoms during the three months, especially if these symptoms develop within 14 days after “close contact with another infected person.”
The guidelines also proscribe the use of serological tests (those that test for antibodies) to “establish the presence or absence of Covid-19 infection or re-infection,” Kumar said.