Health extends the collection of epidemiological data from the Autonomous Communities to face the transition to a new normal

The Ministry of Health has promoted a ministerial order that regulates the obligations and procedures for obtaining and communicating information for epidemiological surveillance related to COVID-19 during the transition phase towards a new normality.

Surveillance in the transition phase requires epidemiological information systems that provide daily complete and accurate data for decision-making.

The text, published today in the Official State Gazette (BOE), aims to ensure that this information is "relevant, timely, operational and homogeneous" at the level of all autonomous communities and autonomous cities.

The order obliges all health and socio-health centers, services and establishments, both in the public and private sectors, as well as the health professionals who work in them, to provide all the data necessary for the follow-up and epidemiological surveillance of COVID- 19 that are required by the competent health authority. They will have to provide them in the appropriate format and in a timely manner, including the data necessary to unequivocally identify citizens.

It is also established that the autonomous communities and cities will guarantee that a PCR test or other appropriate molecular diagnostic technique is carried out for each suspected case of COVID-19 in the first 24 hours from the knowledge of the symptoms. The procedures that regulate the definition of a suspicious condition will be approved by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (SNS).

On the other hand, starting today, the public health units of the Autonomous Communities must obtain daily data on suspected and confirmed cases, from the public and private systems, as well as from occupational risk prevention services.

Individualized collection

The two existing data collection systems will be maintained. On the one hand, individualized case information will continue to be sent to the Ministry of Health through the SiViEs surveillance tool, which is managed by the National Center for Epidemiology of the Carlos III Health Institute.

Among all the information, the workplace of the infected health personnel will be specified, in which environment the contagion and isolation of cases and the identification of contacts, among others, could have occurred. Before 12.00 each day, all the information accumulated and updated until 24.00 the day before will be incorporated.

Aggregate information

On the other hand, the public health units of the autonomous communities and cities will continue to send the aggregated epidemiological information to the Coordination Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES). More detailed information will be collected from now on.

Thus, the Autonomous Communities and the autonomous cities will report suspect cases attended to on a daily basis, differentiating those from primary care from those from hospitalized patients. Weekly accumulated cases of resolved infection will also begin to be collected.

In addition, the number of professionals in the epidemiological surveillance services dedicated to the COVID-19 response will be collected in relation to the number of daily cases detected and the reference population. Initial personnel and new incorporated reinforcement personnel must be indicated.

On the other hand, the percentage of suspected cases of Covid-19 to which a PCR or similar has been performed will be collected. The Autonomous Communities should also send the percentage of close contacts that develop symptoms during follow-up and the number of these contacts that are confirmed as cases.

Regarding health professionals, the number of infected, resolved infections, casualties and discharges will be collected weekly.

Authorized laboratories

For their part, the laboratories authorized to carry out diagnostic tests must also send detailed information daily to the Ministry of Health with the patient's identifier, if the test was indicated by Primary or Specialized Care, the type of test that has been performed, the date of completion and the result.

The Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, its commissions, subcommittees, presentations and working groups, will ensure compliance with the provisions of this order and the proper functioning of information systems, so that epidemiological surveillance leading to Once the Autonomous Communities and Cities of Ceuta and Melilla are carried out in a homogeneous manner and notifications to the Ministry of Health are produced in the established time and manner.

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