This program seeks to track people and their contacts through telephone monitoring, tracking and the use of Coronapp.
Bogotá, July 21, 2020. The Minister of Health and Social Protection, Fernando Ruiz, spoke in the Presidency's Prevention and Action about the Program for Testing, Tracing and Selective Sustainable Isolation (PRASS), the purpose of which is to monitor and follow up on covid-19 cases and contacts.
"We come from a process in which we isolated people, seeking to create quarantines, safeguarding them from the virus. Then we went to isolating the virus, while preparing for at a time of gradual opening of the economy," explained the minister.
He also noted that it is very important, at this point, to have a way to reach people, isolate those that are infected, identify contacts and be able to act quickly to isolate them in their homes.
"The aim is to have telephone operators to follow up on people who have been infected and identify people close to them; also, make use of the Coronapp and do the tracking, as well as having increased capacity in the field to block outbreaks of contagion and act quickly", he held.
This requires an increased capacity of evidence, effective isolation, that is, that the person and family stay protected for 14 days, and for this, support is required, such as a financial support by the contributory or subsidized system. "In some contexts of specific blockages, we will contribute with groceries to support people and the community so that they will stay home to isolate the virus effectively," added the head of the Ministry of Health.
Regarding testing, the minister indicated that we will continue to run diagnostic tests for covid-19, but not the 14-day test. This was the decision in a new guideline issued by the Ministry of Health. "Evidence shows that the diagnosis confirms that the person has the disease and that the clinical course with medical follow-up can give the person the specific point of termination of infection and can therefore reintegrate into society."
"To the extent that we have the ability to be rigorous with isolation when we have symptoms or diagnosis, we may have a significant reduction in the speed of virus transmission," Ruiz recapped.
Response to the general public
One of the questions asked by citizens–and brought to the program of the Presidency of the Republic–addressed the issue of the arrival of a vaccine against covid-19 in the country. The minister explained that the vaccine has three stages that seek to verify safety and efficacy. "Several projects are in phase two and have had positive effects; the clinical trial stage, phase three, is essential. That is where thousands of people are evaluated."
"The vaccine will arrive, but it will take us some time–several months, maybe–to be able to have one available. The first thing is to monitor that availability; second is to establish the worldwide purchase and sale process; and then, work on the international mechanisms where several countries pull together to have equitable access to the vaccine. We have worked with PAHO within its fund to have access to all the vaccines," said Ruiz.
Another of the Colombians' questions referred to the case of needing medical attention: which pathway should be followed. The first thing, said the minister, is to call the person's EPS, to gain access to home consultation if possible, especially if the person is over 70, this is important. "It is also possible to deliver outpatient consultation, going to the nearest hospital to obtain care. If the person has a situation that entails some specific risk or the person suffers from an acute illness, they should go to the emergency department."
Lastly, the head of the health ministry reiterated that even when we are in an environment where covid-19 has become so prevalent, other chronic diseases must continue with their respective care. "We cannot neglect them. We must seek medical attention to chronic illnesses or acute ailments that affect us," he concluded.