Monday 28 September, 2020

Discharged COVID-19 patients to get documentation to return to work

Photo via iStock

Photo via iStock

The Health Ministry said positive COVID-19 cases under home isolation will be given sick leave certificates and release forms upon completion of their isolation periods.

Speaking at a media briefing today, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram clarified the requirements for discharge from quarantine and home isolation after he received requests for clarity from employers.

‘We have been inundated by employers asking about letters to be released from quarantine…and even patients wanting to be released,’ he said.

Dr Parasram provided information for the public as follows:

Home quarantine

Home quarantine would be assigned to someone who was exposed to someone who was either confirmed as COVID-19 positive or suspected to be positive.

For those people, the discharge criteria would be 14 days from the start date of quarantine as per a letter issued by the ministry.

‘You would have received a form from the CMOH office that has a start date; we ask that 14 days post that date…you would now be free of that quarantine and would be able to go back to work once you remain free of symptoms during that period.’

‘That quarantine letter that was signed by the CMOH or their agent would be what you would use to go back to work and what you would give to your employer as valid that you completed your quarantine once you remain without symptoms during that period.’

Dr Parasram said these people would not need a sick leave certificate as they would not have been ill during that time.  

Home isolation

People who tested positive and are allowed to stay home are divided into symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.

Symptomatic cases (those with symptoms) must isolate for a minimum of 10 days after the onset of symptoms plus three days with no signs and symptoms, plus an additional seven days — a total of 20 days of home isolation.

Dr Parasram said this can vary based on the number of days the patient shows symptoms.

For symptomatic cases, Dr Parasram said a sick-leave certificate will be issued and following completion of isolation, a Release from Quarantine form, which can be given to the employer to return to work.

For asymptomatic cases, patients must isolate at home for 10 days from the date of the positive swab plus an additional seven days (total of 17 days).

Dr Parasram said a sick leave certificate can be given to asymptomatic cases to cover the period and a document from the CMOH’s office be given to the employer to return to work.

Dr Parasram also asked employers to abide by the guidelines.

‘We are asking employers please abide by the guidelines we have put out, these are World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for discharge and we will reach out as well to the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce.’

The information is also available on the Ministry’s website here:

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