The Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services has decided to launch an aggressive campaign in detecting COVID-19 patients by expanding the testing process.
According to a communique dated April 7, 2020, several more persons identified under various categories will be selected for testing.
Following a recommendation of the COVID- 19 technical committee the ministry plans to conduct testing of at least ten patients per day displaying symptoms of the virus and seeking OPD treatment at hospitals already functioning as isolation and treatment centres for COVID. Testing, according to the circular issued by the Director General Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe, will be conducted irrespective of a patients travel history.
As well, all those admitted to any hospital, and displaying symptoms of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), will be tested, irrespective of the patients age.
Healthcare workers who have been exposed to suspected or confirmed patients in moderate or high risk situations and are in self-quarantine will also be tested. Similarly, any patient where the treating physician requests testing for the purpose of exclusion of the Corona virus, and deaths suspected to be due to pneumonia will be included for tests.
Meanwhile, community testing will also be carried out as decided by Public Health staff operating in high risk areas, for the purpose of early detection.
A total of thirty two hospitals have been identified across the country, and laboratories assigned to them to enable the expanded testing that is to be introduced.
Amongst the hospitals identified are the Castle Street Hospital for Women, Teaching Hospital of Sri Jayawardenepura, the Dr. Neville Fernando Hospital,National Hospital Kandy, District General Hospitals of Polonnaruwa, Kalutara, and Matara, Teaching Hospitals of Batticaloa and Jaffna, the Welisara Chest Hospital and several Base Hospitals.