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Creating symptom-based criteria for diagnostic testing: a case study based on a multivariate analysis of data collected during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand

Abstract

Diagnostic testing using PCR is a fundamental component of COVID-19 pandemic control. Criteria for determining who should be tested by PCR vary between countries, and ultimately depend on resource constraints and public health objectives. Decisions are often based on sets of symptoms in individuals presenting to health services, as well as demographic variables, such as age, and travel history. The objective of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of sets of symptoms used for triaging individuals for confirmatory testing, with the aim of optimising public health decision making under different scenarios.

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