Beijing Olympic Committee lowers threshold for producing negative COVID-19 test

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The Beijing Olympic Committee and Chinese authorities are lowering the threshold for producing a negative test for any participant arriving at the Games, lowering the cycle threshold (Ct) value from 40 to 35.

A communication from Beijing 2022 was sent on Sunday explaining the change. The lower value makes it easier for participants to produce a negative test, especially if they have already been infected.

This occurs 48 hours after the upper threshold value was challenged.

The higher the Ct value, the less contagious a person with COVID-19 is. Many places in Canada use a Ct value of 35.

The NBA and NHL use 30, while the NFL has set its threshold at 35.

“In order to adapt to the reality of the current environment and further support Games participants, Beijing 2022 and Chinese authorities, in consultation with medical experts and the IOC, have refined countermeasures with the following changes effective January 23, 2022,” he said in the statement.

Effective immediately for airport testing and drug testing, participants with PCR results with a Ct value greater than or equal to 35 will be managed the same as a close contact for seven days and will not generate any close contact.

Anyone with a PCR result below 35 will be considered positive.

Beijing Olympics organizers have confirmed 72 cases of COVID-19 among 2,586 Games-related personnel who entered China from Jan. 4-22, with no cases among the 171 athletes and team officials who arrived during this period. .

On Friday, the chairman of the Beijing 2022 medical expert panel, Dr Brian McCloskey, defended the strict protocols in place for Olympics participants in China as necessary to reduce the risk of spread during the Games.

WATCH | IOC medical expert discusses strict COVID-19 protocols for Beijing 2022:

IOC medical expert on COVID-19 testing and protocols at Beijing 2022

CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux is joined by Beijing 2022 Medical Panel Chairman Dr. Brian McCloskey for the latest on on-field COVID-19 testing procedures and protocols ahead of the Winter Olympics of Beijing 2022. 9:29

Dr. McCloskey told CBC Sports that there are different ways countries manage their protocols. He said they had exchanged scientific papers with colleagues in China to better understand the evidence behind how the tests are done.

“We use a standard PCR test, which is an international standard approved by the World Health Organization. Each laboratory sets its own standards in terms of Ct values, but these are consistent across the world,” he said. -he declares.

This will have a huge impact on participants who have previously tested positive but have recovered.

Infectious disease specialist Dr Isaac Bogoch expressed initial concern over the value set for Ct, saying anyone who recently tested positive could still show values ​​due to residual virus.

“If someone has had a recent infection, has clear evidence of it, and is not transmissible, I wouldn’t be concerned with a residual PCR test,” Bogoch said.

“It makes no sense to test someone under these circumstances or at the very least to make an important decision given the circumstances.”

Other Changes

Other changes include that if a positive participant spends 10 days or more in isolation, then that person will be released to their accommodation during the Games if they have no symptoms of COVID-19 and their PCR results have a higher Ct value or equal to 35 for the last three consecutive days.

Another change is to reduce the time a person is considered a close contact from two weeks to seven days. “During this period, the tests will be carried out twice a day.

The close contact will be able to choose whether their PCR test sample is collected as a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab,” the communication explained.

All such changes will be applied immediately and will also apply retrospectively.


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