You might have read about how Wuhan is quarantining discharged COVID-19 patients as some of them appear to have been “re-infected”. However, that has since been debunked; it seems like the patients might have been discharged even when they’ve not fully recovered.
And then you might have read about how a Japanese got “re-infected” after more than three weeks since her “recovery”.
That’s a tad tricky as there’s no explanation for her case yet.
Is it because she’s not built an immunity to it, so she got infected from someone else again? Is it because she’s not fully recovered from her first infection? Or is it because the virus can stay dormant and come out whenever it feels like?
So man questions, but not answers.
Though we just have one question: would those discharged COVID-19 patients in Singapore be “re-infected” again and pass the virus to someone else?
Well, for that, NCID and MOH have the answer.
NCID Says Discharged COVID-19 Patients in S’pore No Longer Have Virus & Won’t Infect Others
The experts in NCID have come out to say that patients who are discharged no longer have the virus in them and therefore cannot pass the infection to others.
According to the executive director of NCID, they ensured that the patient is virus-free before discharging them. She said, “Patients are only discharged when they have clinically recovered and molecular testing indicates they have stopped shedding the virus.”
In other words, if they do sneeze or cough, there is no virus in the droplets.
In addition, they won’t be released even if they have the all-clear: the patients will still stay in isolation for 24 hours for a second test to double-confirm the results.
As a precautionary measure, the patients would have to come back for a follow-up check after two weeks.
MOH’s director of medical services, Kenneth Mak , agrees, as patients have to undergo several tests before they are discharged. This includes consecutive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests that can detect the presence of viral generic material in a patient’s biological sample.
Now, how thorough are they?
Dr Mak said, “In fact, in one patient they even tested breast milk, in order to be absolutely assured that the mother, who was a patient, didn’t in fact have any virus shedding in any of these fluids.”
In other words, very thorough.
Discharged patients are, however, recommended to stay at home to rest so that “they don’t get any other infections in this situation when they are regaining their strength … recovering into full health.”
However, as usual, the same logic applies: this virus is so new, a lot still need to be learned.
But just take this advice from Dr Mak: “The likelihood of (a discharged patient) infecting any other person subsequently is, in fact, extremely low.”