People under 55 without comorbidities slip down Covid-19 test priority list

Following a surge of Covid-19 cases in the country, Pathcare said it would now only test patients most in need and at risk.
Following a surge of Covid-19 cases in the country, Pathcare said it would now only test patients most in need and at risk.
Image: MICHELE SPATARI/AFP

With infections surging and a limited number of test kits, pathology practice Pathcare is restricting Covid-19 tests to patients most in need and at risk.

This is being implemented at all its laboratories and depots from Monday.

The following categories of patients will only be tested on referral by a health-care professional:

  • Hospital inpatients, in other words those admitted with symptoms related to Covid-19, or any other emergency surgical or medical cases;
  • Health-care workers;
  • Patients older than 55 years with symptoms related to Covid-19;
  • Patients younger than 55 years with Covid-19 symptoms and suffering from any of the following comorbidities: diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, cancer, immune-compromised patients like those with HIV with poor compliance to antiretrovirals, active tuberculosis, chronic lung disease on treatment for asthma or chronic obstructive airway disease;
  • Pre-admission of non-emergency surgical or medical cases.

The following patients will not be tested for Covid-19:

  • Asymptomatic outpatients. This includes patients exposed to positive cases, including those older than 55 years or suffering from comorbidities, but without any symptoms; 
  • Retesting of Covid-19 positive patients after completion of the prescribed period of self-isolation;
  • Screening for the purpose of returning to work for non-essential services;
  • Workplace mass screening;
  • Self-referred patients.

“We request that, as far as possible, you do not refer symptomatic patients under the age of 55 without comorbidities for testing to preserve testing capacity for vulnerable patients.

“We will keep you informed of changes to our capacity and ability to extend the testing again,” Pathcare’s John Douglass said.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.