The Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday it will no longer use the terms “patients under investigation” and “patients under monitoring” to categorize COVID-19 cases.

Under Administrative Order 2020-0013, the Health department will instead use the terms “confirmed”, “suspect” and “probable” cases.

The DOH said in the AO that the amendment also adapted certain provisions of the World Health Organization (WHO) interim guideline on global surveillance for COVID-19 released on March 20, 2020, which provides for the use of case definition for surveillance (suspect, probable and confirmed) recommendations for laboratory testing and reporting of surveillance data.

The DOH said those who tested positive for COVID-19 will be classified as confirmed cases.

Patients under monitoring, the term used to classify persons who were in contact with persons who tested positive for COVID-19 or have been to places with confirmed local transmission of the disease, will not be used under the new classification.

Meanwhile those previously called “patients under investigation” or those who show flu-like symptoms such as fever (38 degree body temperature) and dry cough, those with travel history to areas with confirmed local transmission of COVID-19, and people with exposure to a confirmed or probable case will be categorized as Suspect Cases.

Those to be considered as Suspect Cases are: senior citizens (60 years old and above), women with high-risk pregnancy, persons with a weakened immune system and health care workers who have fever, cough or difficulty in breathing and people with lung diseases of an unknown cause.

Meanwhile those considered Probable Cases are patients who are not yet tested, who are awaiting their COVID-19 test results, or whose throat and nasal swabs were examined in an unaccredited testing facility.

The DOH said the new classification will take effect “immediately”. (Rommel F. Lopez)