DAK calls for intense contact tracing

SRINAGAR: With an elderly woman tested positive for the novel (new) coronavirus making her the first case in Kashmir valley, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday has urged health authorities in Kashmir valley to identify and isolate all those persons who have been in close contact with the confirmed case.
“We need to find the contacts and find them fast that would help to prevent the spread of the virus in the community,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
The woman had history of travel to Saudi Arabia and had arrived at Srinagar airport two days ago.
Dr Nisar said passengers who were seated in the aircraft with her in the same row, or in the two rows in front and two rows behind her should be immediately traced and isolated.
“All the family members of the woman and those who have visited her should be screened and monitored,” he added.
Dr Nisar said the contacts should be monitored for at least 14 days after the last exposure to the confirmed case for any symptoms of the disease.
“If symptoms develop in any contact, he or she should be considered a probable case and his or her samples should be sent for testing to the designated laboratory,” he said.
“Contacts who have mild symptoms should be quarantined at home until the test results come in,” Dr Nisar said adding “those with severe symptoms should be referred to a designated hospital for management.”
“Older people and contacts who have medical conditions should also be shifted to a proper healthcare facility, even if, they have milder symptoms,” he said.
Dr Nisar said we should consider testing even on those “close contacts” who don’t exhibit signs and symptoms of the disease as there have been reports that the new virus can spread from people who have no symptoms.
“Close contacts are those who had face-to-face contact with the confirmed case for a period of more than 15 minutes or those who shared an enclosed space with the confirmed case for more than two hours,” he said.
“Contact tracing is an integral part of fighting the pandemic and is the most effective tool to contain the virus and save lives,” said Dr Nisar.

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