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DoH modifies classification of COVID-19 cases

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On January 28, the Philippines started classifying coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases as either Patients under Investigation (PUIs) or Persons under Monitoring (PUMs). However, due to apparent local or community transmission of the virus and the surge in cases, the Department of Health (DoH) has decided to shift from classifying individuals as PUIs or PUMs to using case definitions following guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO).

PUM — one who may have been exposed to the virus but shows no symptoms — is no longer included in the new classification, as residents are assumed to have been exposed due to local transmission. A PUI (mild, severe or critical) who was not tested or awaiting test results is now classified as Suspect, while a PUI (mild, severe or critical) with inconclusive test results is considered a Probable case. A COVID Positive case is now referred to as Confirmed.

SUSPECT CASE

A. Individuals with influenza-like illness (ILI). Symptoms include fever of at least 38°C and cough or sore throat, AND either of the following: (i) a history of travel to or residence in an area that reported local transmission of COVID-19 during the 14 days prior to symptom onset, OR (ii) with contact to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 during the 14 days prior to symptom onset.

B. Individuals with sudden respiratory infection and severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty of breathing or severe pneumonia with unknown cause, and requires hospitalization

C. Individuals with fever or cough or shortness of breath or other respiratory signs or symptoms and under any of the following conditions: (i) aged 60 years and above, (ii) with a comorbidity, (iii) assessed as having high-risk pregnancy, or (iv) a health worker.

PROBABLE CASE 

A. Suspect case whom testing for COVID-19 is inconclusive

B. Suspect case who tested positive for COVID-19 but whose test was not conducted in a national or subnational reference laboratory, or an officially accredited laboratory

CONFIRMED CASE

A. Any individual who was laboratory-confirmed for COVID-19 through RT-PCR in a national or subnational reference laboratory, or a DoH-certified laboratory testing facility

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