Case Definitions Case Definitions (As of June 25, 2020)
Patients Under Investigation (PUI)
Guidelines for Suspected Persons Symptomatic of COVID-19
A suspected patient is moved to an isolated or separated area within the Screening station (health center or medical institution) for sample collection. If s/he tests negative, the isolation will be lifted after 14 days of mandatory isolation upon the last date of contact. If s/he tests positive, appropriate treatment will be provided depending on the symptoms.
A person under investigation (PUI) is also moved to an isolated or separated area within the Screening station (health center or medical institution) for sample collection. If s/he tests positive, appropriate treatment will be provided depending on the symptoms. However, if the test result is negative, the person will attend a health education (refrain from moving out, using public transportation, using shared areas, etc.) and be advised to comply with the guidelines suggested in the education for 14 days after developing symptoms.
The Korean government classifies COVID-19 cases by severity to place priority on treating more severe cases at hospitals while mild cases receive medical treatment and monitoring at residential treatment centers.
After confirmed cases are diagnosed at public health centers, healthcare personnel at city and provincial patient management teams classify them based on severity into four groups: mild, moderate, severe, and extremely severe.
Moderate, severe, and extremely severe cases are admitted to Infectious Disease Hospitals or nationally-designated treatment facilities, depending on the patients’ condition, for immediate in-hospital treatment.
Meanwhile, mild cases who do not need hospitalization are treated at residential treatment centers. These cases include those who are discharged from hospitals after receiving in-hospital care and show improvements but are still in need of treatment and those who are classified as mild cases with no need for hospitalization. Patients at residential treatment centers receive check-ups twice a day and are immediately transferred to a medical institution if their symptoms worsen. If their symptoms improve, they are released in accordance with the criteria for discharge.
In order to closely engage communities in the government’s preventive measures and alleviate the burden on their livelihood, in-hospital care and treatment costs for confirmed patients as well as testing costs for suspected cases are covered by the National Health Insurance or government funds.
Confirmed cases who display symptoms are discharged if they meet the clinical and testing criteria.
By clinical criteria, a person should not exhibit fever without taking fever reducers and show improvements in clinical symptoms for at least 72 hours after 10 days upon onset.
By testing criteria, a person should not exhibit fever without taking fever reducers and show improvements in clinical symptoms after 7 days upon onset. Thereafter, the person should test negative on PCR tests twice in a row with at least a 24-hour interval.
Confirmed cases who do not display symptoms are discharged if they do not exhibit any clinical symptoms for 10 days upon confirmation. By the testing criteria, they should test negative on PCR tests twice in a row with at least a 24-hour interval after 7 days upon confirmation.
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