Patients suffering from 'long COVID' no longer contagious: expert


Posted at Oct 19 2020 08:29 AM | Updated as of Oct 19 2020 12:03 PM

Medical workers monitor the Pediatric Infectious Disease Critical Care Unit in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, Jan. 28, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Patients who complain of lingering symptoms of COVID-19 infection even after being discharged from the hospital may be experiencing remnants of the virus' symptoms but are no longer contagious, an infectious disease expert said Monday.

These are usually patients who suffered from moderate to critical cases of the virus, according to Dr. Rontgene Solante, head of adult infectious diseases at the San Lazaro Hospital.

"Pinagaaralan pa natin baka ito na lang ang remnant ng sintomas nila. Of course may tinatawag tayong recovery period so ito nakikita natin matagal ang recovery period nila although 'yung virus sa katawan nila di na aktibo, di na nakakahawa," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(We're still studying this, maybe these are just remnants of their symptoms. Of course we have what we call a recovery period, we can see theirs is longer but the virus in their body is no longer active, no longer contagious.)

"Importante dito 'yung follow-up nila sa mga doktor nila na hindi nila ihinto para lang ma-advise sila sa mga hakbang nila ano gagawin, kung ano ang imomonitor sa kanila."

(What's important here is they follow-up with their doctors so they will be advised on what to do and what should be monitored.)

Patients with remnants of virus symptoms do not need to undergo coronavirus testing again, Solante said.

"Pwede magpositive dahil andun pa rin ang remnant ng virus, alalahanin natin na itong ganitong sintomas di na ibig sabihin nakakahawa na sila," he said.

(They can still test positive because of the virus' remnants but we need to remember these symptoms don't mean they're contagious.)

When a patient suffers from a fever, they should be checked for other infectious diseases or another contraction of the coronavirus, he added.

Patients suffering from "long COVID" may donate blood plasma as long as they have the needed antibody levels, according to Solante.

Meantime, the hospital for infectious diseases has yet to see an increase in dengue and leptospirosis even as rains persist due to La Niña, Solante said.

The hospital is seeing fewer cases of COVID-19 and more cases of tuberculosis, he added.

"Ito 'yung infection na medyo napabayaan nang konti nung meron pang COVID na di sila nakapunta sa centers nila kaya ngayon sila ang nagpupunta sa hospital," Solante said.

(This is an infectious disease that may have been neglected during the height of COVID-19. Patients were unable to go to disease centers so now they go to hospitals.)

The Philippines as of Sunday reported 356,618 cases of COVID-19, with 310,158 recoveries and 6,652 deaths.

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