Did you take covid for the first time? See how to test, isolation time and alerts – 07/06/2022

Brazil is experiencing a new rise in covid-19 cases and some factors are helping to explain what experts consider to be the fourth wave of the country’s pandemic. Many people who have escaped the disease so far have ended up infected and doubts arise: after all, when should I take the test? Which test to do? How long does isolation last and when to seek medical help?

Data from Conassen (National Council of Health Secretaries) indicate that the moving average for new daily cases is 31 thousand. At the end of April, the index was 12 thousand.

A survey by Dasa Laboratories also showed that the increase in disease positivity increased by 4% in one week and by 10% in two. The rise is in the Federal District, followed by São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In São Paulo, for example, the Sírio-Libanês Hospital once again has full wards for patients with Covid-19.

Why are cases on the rise?

The new rise in cases can be explained by highly transmissible variants in circulation, especially micro-replicas, as well as the flexibility of health protocols and the gap between the final doses of the vaccine.

However, it can be safely assumed that the scenario is different from previous waves, especially when there were no vaccines and serious illnesses were more frequent. “From an epidemiological point of view, we have very classic waves, now we are seeing the highest levels of flexibility,” said Alexandre Naime, vice president of the SBI (Brazilian Association of Infectious Diseases) and professor at Unesp (Universidade Estadual Paulista).

Cases are also driven by omicron-derived subvariants. “It is a very chameleon virus and manages to escape the immune response, where Ômikron itself can get infected again,” Naime warns. This can be explained by mutations between strains and low protections over time.

According to the infectologist, it is possible to re-infect about two to three months after the first infection due to some subtypes. Therefore, many people who had covid-19 at the beginning of the year are back with the disease. The good news is that cases are still evolving, strengthening the role of vaccines in pandemic control.

When and how to test?

The recommendations are the same since the pandemic began. The priority is to perform an RT-PCR test, which is more reliable for diagnosis. The next, antigen or self-test, released a few months ago in Brazil.

But it is important to remember that the latter can indicate false negatives when the person has the disease and the result is not. “Self-testing is a screening tool, you have to confirm it by testing in a private or public laboratory, this has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic,” said infectologist Alexandre Naime.

How long is the isolation of covid-19?

Since January, the Ministry of Health has recommended that symptoms appear and be isolated for seven days, or the date of the test, if any. You must be free of fever, medication, and asymptomatic symptoms in order to get rid of it. If the signs of the disease persist, the protocols should be maintained for another three days, meeting the standard 10-day time limit, according to Raquel Stucchi, an infectious disease specialist at Unicamp (Campinas State University).

The protocol also applies to those who have been isolated for five days. After the period, you should give the negative to circulate again, using the mask as a precaution.

It is important to remember that at home, isolation is necessary if other people do not have the disease. It is important to inform anyone who came in contact with you during the days before the test date to prevent the spread of the virus.

See isolation protocols:

five days of isolation

The person may leave solitary confinement only during this period, at the end of the fifth day:

  • He has not had any respiratory symptoms or fever for at least 24 hours without taking antipyretic medication to lower it;
  • Negative test with PCR, antigen, or self-test.

Even if the person is negative, it is recommended to continue to take additional measures, such as working from home if possible and wearing a mask with people in places. If the person is still positive, it is necessary to maintain isolation until the tenth day.

Another note is that you need to keep wearing the mask for at least 10 days. “Those who leave before this time should wear a PFF2 mask, avoid enclosed spaces, without natural ventilation, and avoid contact with people who are not vaccinated and at risk of increasing covid. [como crianças, idosos e pessoas imunocomprometidas]”, leads Stucchi.

seven days of isolation

At the end of seven days, it is possible for patients to leave the isolation without being tested:

  • No respiratory symptoms or fever for at least 24 hours;
  • Do not take antipyretic medication for at least 24 hours. In this case, it is not necessary to take a negative test. If respiratory symptoms or fever persist on the seventh day, the individual should follow other guidelines.

If he tests negative on the seventh day, he may leave the isolation, as long as the test is PCR, antigen, or self-test, and he has waited 24 hours without respiratory symptoms or fever and without the use of antipyretics.

10 day isolation

If the test is positive on the fifth or seventh day, the person should remain isolated until the tenth day. To quit quarantine on the tenth day, it is necessary to:

  • No symptoms of asthma and no fever for at least 24 hours;
  • Failure to use the antipyretic for at least 24 hours.

Should I still wear a mask?

After 10 days, it is recommended that each region follow the guidelines for using masks. In the city of São Paulo, for example, the city council once again recommended its use in enclosed spaces.

It is also important to assess the personal risks of exposure and, if they are large, to maintain them. These include the possibility of re-contracting the virus or infecting those who may have serious consequences of covid-19.

When to seek medical attention?

Alexandre Naim, a specialist in infectious diseases, recalled the importance of seeking medical attention to monitor the progression of the disease. “All cases should be followed up for clinical follow-up of the patient, whether telemedicine or pre-consultation,” he says.

People with risk factors for severe Covid-19 progression (such as those who have not been vaccinated, the elderly, and those who are immunocompromised) and those with comorbidities should prioritize the search for health care professionals.

Can people with three or four doses of the vaccine take covid?

Yes, the main purpose of the vaccine is to protect against the serious effects of the disease. “One thing is the effectiveness of the vaccine against severe forms, and the biggest benefit is the reduction in hospitalizations and deaths,” Naime recalled.

That is, the immunizer does not guarantee that people will not get sick, but it does reduce the risk of the effects of covid-19.

“Before vaccination, 15 out of 100 patients were hospitalized and three out of 100 died. There are currently five hospitalizations out of a confirmed thousand cases and one death per thousand,” Naime said. The data are from the Ministry of Health and cover three doses.

* With information from a report published on 06/22/06.

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