As the number of confirmed cases is skyrocketing due to the COVID-19 Omicron pandemic in Korea, from the 3rd of next month, local hospitals and clinics will also be able to receive COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

In addition, those suspected of COVID-19 will undergo a rapid antigen test at a designated medical institution, and then, if the PCR (gene amplification) test results in a final confirmation, they will receive a 'one-stop' management from prescribing medications to home treatment through the relevant medical institution.

However, in these medical institutions, not only patients with COVID-19 symptoms but also general patients will receive treatment together, so infection control such as separation of movement lines is expected to be the key.

The following is a summary of the examination and treatment systems of local hospitals and clinics that the government explained today (28th).

Q. What is the changing COVID-19 diagnostic test system?

Broadly, it is divided into a PCR test for each subject, or a PCR test if the rapid antigen test is positive first.

High-risk groups, such as the elderly over 60 years of age or those with epidemiological connections, receive free PCR tests at screening clinics and temporary screening centers.

Except for these, general management groups can be tested at screening clinics or respiratory clinics. At screening clinics, under the supervision of the manager, they test with a self-test kit and perform PCR test again only if positive.

Also, at the respiratory clinic, after a doctor's examination, a professional rapid antigen test is performed. If positive, a PCR test is performed at the relevant medical institution or screening clinic.

Q. When can I start receiving diagnostic tests at local hospitals and clinics?

Starting from the 3rd of next month, you can first receive a corona diagnosis and test at 431 respiratory clinics designated nationwide. Respiratory clinics refer to hospitals and clinics where infection control is possible, such as a negative pressure facility, and the movement of patients with and without respiratory symptoms is also separated. A total of 431 hospitals nationwide (115 clinics, 150 hospitals) · 166 general hospitals) are designated. Except for this, local hospitals and clinics have also been accepting applications for participation since yesterday, and from the 3rd of next month, about 1,000 additional hospitals, including otolaryngology, which mainly treats respiratory patients, are expected to open.

Q. How do local hospitals and clinics separate suspected COVID-19 patients from general patients during the examination stage?

At the outpatient reception stage, we recommend reducing waiting times in the hospital through advance reservations as much as possible, and separating the areas where respiratory/fever patients and general patients stay when visiting the hospital. Also, keep a certain distance between patients and wear a mask, and medical staff who come in contact with the patient should also wear protective gear.

Q. How is the 'one-stop' system for diagnosis, examination, prescription, and treatment in hospitals and clinics operated?

For example, if a person with fever/respiratory symptoms visits a designated local clinic, a primary examination is performed with a professional rapid antigen test after a basic examination. If positive, PCR test is performed again to confirm final positive or not, and oral treatment is prescribed for confirmed patients. After that, you will receive care during home treatment through the clinic.

Q. How many people are currently receiving home treatment and how are they managed?

As of 00:00 today, there are a total of 5627 home-treated patients nationwide and 402 home-treated managed medical institutions, showing an operating rate of 60% and being adequately managed. By the end of this month, up to 110,000 home-treated patients can be managed, and additional managed medical institutions are being secured to respond even if the number of confirmed patients reaches 30,000 to 50,000 next month. In addition, the capacity of managed medical institutions can be improved by reducing the number of wired monitoring of home care providers from 2 to 3 times a day to 1 or 2, or increasing the number of home care workers per doctor from the current 100 to 150. can.

Q. Does the type of managed medical institution assigned to home care providers vary according to the severity of the risk?

In the case of high-risk groups, if the PCR test is confirmed at screening clinics such as public health centers, they are mainly assigned to hospital level among managed medical institutions, and are managed 24 hours a day. In this case, you will check your health by wire twice a day. General subjects who have been confirmed at a respiratory clinic or hospital/clinic will be assigned to a hospital/clinic and receive home treatment because their symptoms are mild in the first place. They check their health once a day.

Q. What are the at-home treatment models?

For the low-severe risk general management group, a variety of at-home treatment options may be applied. First, each clinic monitors during the day, and at night, it can be managed at the 'Home Treatment Support Center', a consortium of clinics. In addition, in the case of a medical examination or examination at the relevant clinic, it is also permitted to wait for a phone call (on-call) at home from 7 pm to 9 am the next day after the outpatient treatment ends with the concept of the attending physician. A model linking hospital-level management organizations that operate 24 hours only at night is also applied.

Q. How does the 'On Call' system work?

If a patient is finally confirmed through a test at a local hospital or clinic, he or she will go straight to home treatment. In this case, 'on-call' is allowed to the doctor at the relevant medical institution, which is a method of providing medical treatment during the day and checking the patient's condition by phone in the evening or on the weekend. Because it is a patient who has been examined directly by a doctor, it is possible to manage it at home because the medical record and the patient's condition are known. However, if the doctor does not answer the phone right away, you must call the home therapist again within 10 minutes to check the condition.

Q. How will at-home therapists assigned to respiratory clinics operated only during the day be treated at night?

If a home therapist is assigned to a hospital-level respiratory clinic, a management vacancy occurs after 7 pm when the outpatient treatment hours end, so the management entity is converted to a hospital-level managed medical institution in the local area. Accordingly, the authorities will separately inform the operating hours of the respiratory clinic assigned to home care workers.

Q. Where should a confirmed patient go to receive outpatient treatment during home treatment?

Patients receiving outpatient treatment at a local hospital or clinic can visit a separate outpatient treatment center.

Currently, there are 52 locations across the country, including 21 in Seoul, 26 in Gyeonggi, and 3 in Incheon.

Q. How is the infection control fee determined at a medical institution that manages in-home care providers?

Currently, the high-risk group is paid at 80,000 won per patient per day, and the low-risk group, which does not require intensive management, is paid at around 62,000 won.

Depending on the medical institution, when managing only during the daytime from 9 am to 7 pm, it is 30,000 won for low-risk patients, 32,000 won at night, and 62,000 won for integrated management.