As of Monday, the isolation period will be shorter provided that certain conditions are met
Mateja Logar, head of the advisory group at the Ministry of Health, and Janez Tomažič from the Clinic for Infectious Diseases at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana took part in a press conference on the current situation regarding COVID-19.
According to current data, a total of 14,714 PCR tests and 90,859 rapid antigen tests were carried out yesterday. 9,858 infections were confirmed by PCR tests, which means that there are over 96,000 active cases in Slovenia. In hospitals, 455 patients are being treated in ordinary wards, and 144 patients infected with covid-19 are being treated in intensive care wards. Twelve people have died. In Slovenia, 78% of people aged 50 and over and 67% of people aged 18 and over have been fully vaccinated. In total, 569,218 people have received a booster dose so far.
Maja Bratuša further explained that anyone with symptoms of infection and a negative test result must stay at home and are entitled to sick leave. Isolation in this case means that a person showing symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid contact with other people and do the same as they would for a general upper respiratory tract infection, which is not the same as an ordered isolation in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Head of the advisory group at the Ministry of Health Mateja Logar explained the difference between quarantine and isolation:
- people who have been in a high-risk contact with an infected person are sent into quarantine. They must remain in quarantine for the duration of the incubation period, i.e. from the time of the high-risk contact until the disease develops,
- people who have fallen ill or are showing symptoms of the disease are sent into isolation. They must remain in isolation for as long as necessary until they are no longer contagious and can no longer infect other people.
If quarantined people fall ill, they transition from quarantine to isolation. The day of receipt of a positive PCR test is considered to be the beginning of isolation for those who have no symptoms of infection. Those who exhibit symptoms of infection and which was also confirmed by PCR test, the first day of isolation is considered to be the day when the symptoms of infection first appeared.
Mateja Logar also said that as of Monday, those who will receive positive PCR test results this week will be able to shorten their time in isolation.
She also said that the pressure on hospitals in this wave has somewhat diminished, but that hospitalised persons include many patients with chronic diseases whose condition may worsen due to their COVID-19 infection. There are also people who have been admitted to hospitals due to an acute deterioration in their health (e.g. myocardial infarction, various injuries) who then tested positive for COVID-19, which results in their being hospitalised in the COVID-19 wards and which in turn increases the number of hospitalised patients. She pointed out that the high number of infected people may still increase pressure on hospitals and, consequently, bed occupancy in intensive care units. We must therefore do everything to avoid infection and act as self-protectively as possible.
Janez Tomažič from the Department of Infectious Diseases of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana said that as of Monday, 24 January 2022, the period of isolation after infection with COVID-19 will last seven days and no longer ten days.
However, shortening the isolation time will not be possible for immunocompromised patients and for those experiencing a severe course of the disease which requires hospitalisation. To make isolation shortening as safe as possible, two conditions and one important requirement must be met:
- Condition 1: 24 hours before the end of isolation, you must not have a fever (note: if you reduce the fever with medication, the condition is not met) and must not be experiencing any other severe symptoms. If you have a fever or other symptoms, the duration of isolation must be extended accordingly after consulting your doctor,
- Condition 2: you perform a rapid antigen test with an authorised provider on the 7th day after being sent into isolation and the result is negative. If the test result is positive, you must return into isolation and can repeat the test the following day all until the 10th day. After the 10th day, isolation is suspended without needing to take a test.
In addition to both conditions, an important requirement must be met, which is that after shortening the isolation period, you must avoid contact with other people, especially with vulnerable people, for the next three days while wearing a protective surgical or FFP2 mask.
According to the European Union regulation, the issue of a QR code for recovered persons is possible starting on the 11th day after receiving a positive PCR test, so those who cut their isolation short after the 7th day will not have a valid QR code until the end of the 10th day. Vaccinated persons can continue to use the valid QR code obtained through vaccination after the end of their isolation period.