The Ministry of Health reported that it will now apply a new protocol to determine positive cases. This implies that in some circumstances verification by means of a test (either antigens, antibodies or PCR) will not be necessary, which caused concern among some experts.
The specialists consulted by TN considered what could there be an “artificial” decrease in cases from Covid-19 due to lack of notification, since if someone complies with any of the epidemiological criteria (is close contact, for example, or lives in an area with a high incidence of cases) and one of the clinical criteria (known symptoms), it will be directly considered a positive case.
I also read: The Government’s reasons for changing the protocol that defines positive cases of Covid-19 without testing
The reasons for the change of criteria analyzed by the experts
Given the large number of infections, the Government modified the protocol to determine the positive cases of coronavirus, without being made swabs, antigen testing or PCR. Therefore, contagion will be considered when at least one criterion is met epidemiological and one clinical.
Amadeo Esposta (MP 13,891), head of the Infectology Service of the San Martín Hospital (La Plata) warned that this measure “is a way to avoid testing and make a diagnosis, which is exclusively an approximation.”
“It is an adapted measure and for convenience, but not for a high scientific level,” he added. While noting that this change has no bibliographic support. In other words, it is not ensured that it has already been carried out in other countries without there being a “lower quality of diagnosis”.
While, Carlos Bergallo (MP 7651), infectologist and member of the advisory committee of the Ministry of Health of Córdoba, warns that it is “a clinical and epidemiological definition that it does not confirm the cases, but it is worth taking the isolation measures”.
Will infections go down or will only tests go down?
Like her national colleagues, the pathologist and pediatrician in the UK, Marta Cohen (GMC 6.036.624), became critical again and called for diagnostic tests to be carried out in Argentina. “There cannot be a specific number of cases if the testing is not done,” he warned.
In both parts of the planet, experts warn that there could be a drop in the number of cases not because of a real drop in infections, but because of a lack of registration. “The cases are going to go down artificially. Who will carry those considered positive?”, González Ayala wondered.
“It is not a measure to lower the actual number of cases. Surely, if there is a significant decrease, it may be due to a lack of registration. But we won’t knowBergallo warned.
The absence of tests can cause a rise in cases
As the cases increased, different jurisdictions, such as Córdoba, Santa Fe and Jujuy defined to impose transitory restrictions. However, specialists point out that, by not knowing the impact of the pandemic, these decisions could be affected.
“Having less certainty in the diagnosis, a change in habits is not indicated. So it won’t have any impact. It is not a preventive measure but statistical and of lower quality, obviouslyEsposto assured.
At the same time, Bergallo stressed that if a fall is recorded, it cannot be attributed to a change in social behavior. “Theoretically, cases may begin to decrease due to vaccines and infections that occurred in December and January, as happened in South Africa, but we won’t know“, he claimed.
I also read: “The system is not enough”: experts justify the changes to define cases of COVID-19 without testing
What are the new criteria imposed by the Government to determine a positive case
- To be close contact with a confirmed case in the last 10 days.
- have participated in a event or social/work space in which there have been at least three confirmed cases (understood as outbreak).
- reside in a zone with “very high incidence” of infected (more than 500 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days).
Large urban conglomerates are today in a situation of epidemiological risk. In other words, who, for example, lives in the AMBA is already complying today with an epidemiological criterion.
- Two or more symptom (fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, vomiting/diarrhea/headache/muscle pain).
- sudden loss of taste/smell