The Canarian Government has highlighted the procedures that are carried out when a positive case of Covid-19 is diagnosed. Once a new case is confirmed, preventive measures are immediately started in an attempt to break the chain of transmission.
The person who has tested positive is asked to remain in isolation at home, and tracking and tracing professionals will quickly arrive to interview them in an attempt to discover who they have recently been in close contact with. This applies to anyone that the patient has been in close proximity to without having observed social distancing or wearing a mask in the 48 hours before symptoms were noticed, or 48 hours before a positive test result in the case of asymptomatic cases.
Tracers will contact all these close contacts by telephone, request that they observe quarantine and organise a PCR test. This can come as a shock to people who may not have suspected that have been in contact with a coronavirus case, but it is vital to break the chain of infection.
The term “isolation” is used for confirmed cases, while “quarantine” is for suspected cases
Tracing staff underline the importance of remaining in quarantine even if the first PCR test has a negative result, as the virus may not be detected in the incubation stage. While confirmed cases require a second negative test, from a sample taken more than 24 hours after the first, before the all-clear can be given; close contacts do not, and can leave quarantine without a further test once the 14 days are up (there is some confusion about this time period, with several Spanish regions recommending a ten-day limit.)
Patients in quarantine and isolation are contacted regularly by phone to check if they have problems or have developed symptoms. They are encouraged to locate a carer, but if they must leave to buy food or medicine, they must do so as little as possible under the strictest hygienic measures.
In August, the Canarian Health Service appealed to islanders in isolation who had been told to observe quarantine to observe the rules, after tracing teams discovered evidence that several patients were not doing so. Last month in Gran Canaria, an asymptomatic case infected 14 other youngsters after breaking quarantine to attend a birthday party. Police may check up on people in isolation ort quarantine to ensure they are at home, but there have been few reports of this occurring.