Wednesday, May 18

Public Health issues resolution on definition of close contact

The General Directorate of Health (DIGESA) issued Resolution No. 0029, which defines the terms of close community contact (family, work and social), health environment and the actions to be followed to reduce Covid-19 in Panama (tests, quarantine or isolation and biosafety measures), in addition to dictating other provisions.

This resolution repeals the previous one, No. 3132 of December 23, 2021; It will take effect from the day after its promulgation and will be in force until further evaluation according to the behavior of the pandemic.

Close community contact (family, work and social) is defined as contact (close, direct physical or in a closed space), with a patient COVID-19 confirmed, less than 2 meters for a period of time of 15 minutes or more, without mask or with improper use of it.

While close contact in the health environment concerns health personnel who care for Covid-19 patients or handle laboratory samples for the detection of Covid-19 with Personal protection equipment (PPE) recommended according to risk, depending on the type of contact.

For the first group (with symptoms), tests for COVID-19 required are the first immediate detection test, through a rapid test from and on the 5th day after exposure to the infected person, a second rapid test is repeated; in the case of people with highly suggestive symptoms and a negative antigen test, perform a PCR test.

In the second group (without symptoms), immediate detection test and then repeat on the 5th day of exposure.

Regarding the 5-day quarantine, it is counted from the date of close contact with the most recent positive and ends with the negative test result on the fifth day.

Isolation with a positive result is 10 days, counted from the first day that symptoms or a positive test appear, the first day being understood as the full day after the symptoms appear (in symptomatic patients) and after taking the screening test sample that was positive (in asymptomatic).

The biosecurity measures to follow are the strict use of a mask at home, at all times, it should never be removed, nor eaten in the presence of others; frequent hand hygiene; maintain distance from other people in the home, especially those who are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill, such as the elderly, people with chronic diseases, immunosuppressed patients, and unvaccinated people; Follow-up and monitoring of signs and symptoms for 10 days.