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    DHEC is upgrading how it tracks and reports covid-19 cases

How will you know if you have covid-19?

New symptoms found to tell if you caught it

By Jerry Bellune

Health officials have updated the symptoms for diagnosing covid-19.

New symptoms include nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and congestion or runny nose.

Changes in taste or smell meet the criteria alone.

They do not need to be present with other symptoms.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control encourages anyone with these symptoms to get tested immediately.

Anyone who is regularly out and about in the community, around others or not able to socially distance or wear a mask, is advised to get tested at least once a month regardless of symptoms.

More than 500 testing opportunities are across the state

Testing has never been easier or more accessible.

Results are available from DHEC testing locations and others in as little as 3 days.

DHEC is upgrading how it tracks and reports covid-19 cases.

DHEC will follow Center for Disease Control criteria to ensure the virus is uniformly reported in the US.

“The CDC’s update is a normal change to address what we are learning about diagnostic tests and the clinical presentation for this virus which didn’t even exist a year ago,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell. 

“Doctors and scientists across the world continue to make discoveries about this deadly disease.

"The better we are able to accurately and uniformly count cases, the more we learn how to stop it."

3 of the most notable changes are:

  • a positive antibody result no longer classifies an individual as a probable case
  • a positive antigen test from a respiratory specimen, which detects a protein on the virus, does classify an individual as a probable case
  • a new “suspect case” category was created for individuals with positive antibody tests or positive antigen tests from autopsy specimens from an individual not previously identified as a case

Suspect cases represents individuals with the lowest level of evidence that they have been infected.

Those will be tracked and investigated to see if the individuals become probable or confirmed cases.

The CDC advises against reporting suspect cases as part of a state’s total case numbers.

In line with this, DHEC will continue its daily reporting of confirmed and probable cases only.

A positive antibody result will now be categorized as a suspect case.

“These updated case definitions indicate that antibody test results are not reliable enough to consider an individual a confirmed or probable case,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler.

“However, an antigen test from a respiratory specimen is reliable enough to make someone a probable case. 

"As medical experts learn more, we can expect additional updates in case definitions and reporting criteria. This is typical of all diseases and isn’t specific to covid-19.

"It helps ensure we have a uniform system for providing an accurate look at how this disease is affecting populations.”



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