We all know that 14 days of self-isolation is mandatory following exposure to the coronavirus, and this is a big problem when frontline health care workers come in close contact with infected patients. To avoid a shortage of essential medical staff, MI4 scientist Dr. Benjamin Smith is studying whether this isolation period could be shortened by as much as half. In this ongoing study, he is working with health care workers exposed to the coronavirus to find out. Each subject receives a COVID-19 test on days 7, 9, 10 and 14 after being exposed to determine how soon the virus can be detected. Preliminary results show that if the subject is going to develop COVID-19, the virus is usually detectable by day 7. Though further study is required to confirm this finding, it signals that, with the right testing strategy, isolation for health care workers may indeed be able to be reduced by half.
Dr. Smith is now expanding his study to confirm these preliminary results. The team is enrolling health care workers in the Lanaudière region and will now include family members and caregivers exposed to the coronavirus when caring for loved ones.
Julie Quenneville, President of the McGill University Health Centre Foundation, expresses her thanks for donations made to the MUHC Foundation and offers insight into the impact of the donations.