Quarantine not needed if masks are worn, self-reporting to begin next week, says Health Minister

People who came into contact with someone later diagnosed with COVID-19 will not have to quarantine, provided both parties wore face masks


Written by ČTK
Published on 14.09.2020 14:22 (updated on 14.09.2020)

Prague, Sept 14 (CTK) – Czech hospitals can treat markedly more patients with COVID-19 than they are treating at present, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (for ANO) told journalists after a meeting of the Government Council for Health Risks today.

He said more than one fourth of beds in anesthesiology and resuscitation wards and intensive care units and 58 percent of beds with mechanical ventilation were empty now.

Additionally, Vojtěch said self-reporting would be launched next week. This means that a person who test positive for COVID-19 will fill in an online form with information about his contacts.

Vojtěch said this would save a lot of time; currently, public health officers have to spend time on the phone with the infected persons to gather this data.

The Health Minister added that people who came into contact with an infected person will not have to go in quarantine, provided that both they and the infected person wore a face mask or respirator. Vojtěch also stated that people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days would not have to go in quarantine after meeting a positive person, either.

On September 1, the quarantine period for risk contacts of people who caught COVID-19 was shortened from 14 to 10 days. People who have coronavirus symptoms must stay in isolation three or four days after the symptoms disappear. People who end quarantine or isolation have to be tested only if they work in health or social care facilities.

The number of people in quarantine has been growing in the Czech Republic again. According to data from the Labour Ministry, doctors have sent nearly 10,000 people to quarantine so far in September, which is more than from May 1 and to June 30. From September 11 to September 13, 1,281 people were sent to quarantine. In April, 13,600 were sent to quarantine, in August it was 10,000.

On March 26, 22,400 people were in quarantine in the country, which has been the highest number during the pandemic. The Health Ministry said this number decreased thanks to the requirement to wear face masks in interior spaces. He said the aim is to eliminate quarantines of people who are practically without any risk.

Chief public health officer Jarmila Rážová will issue new rules for sending people to quarantine, Vojtěch said.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said 305 COVID-19 patients were in hospital now, including 51 in intensive care.

Vojtěch said it is crucial that the hospital capacities are monitored every day. He said he asked regional governors to ensure all hospitals send information about their capacities to the intensive care dispatching center.

“We are modelling different variants of the development and their impact on the capacity of hospital beds,” Health Information and Statistics Institute (UZIS) director Ladislav Dušek said.

Vladimír Černý, head of the COVID clinical group and the intensive care dispatching center, said some hospital beds may be changed to beds for infectious patients, same as it was done in the spring.

Černý said 2.1 percent of those who tested positive were in hospitals and about one fourth of those in hospital were in a serious health condition. “Most of the patients are in Prague and the South Moravia Region. The highest number of patients who need mechanical ventilation is in Prague,” he said.

The risk that infected people must be treated in hospital increased is directly proportional to their age. If the person is aged under 45, it is 1.6 percent, while if the person is aged over 75, it is nearly 40 percent. If the infected people are aged under 45, it is very unlikely that they would have serious coronavirus symptoms (0.1 percent), while if they are aged over 75, it is about 10 percent.

There are 14,438 ill with COVID-19 and most of them have mild symptoms or no at all, according to the data that the Health Ministry released on its website today.