The definition of COVID-19 was in line with the WHO case definition, but from the 16th of March, a suspected case is every patient with an acute respiratory illness who has at least one of the following symptoms: fever (≥38°C), cough, shortness of breath AND has a history of travel abroad during the 14 days prior to symptom onset. (Earlier only those were suspected who had symptoms and a history of travel to or residence in a location reporting community transmission of COVID-19). In addition, any patient exhibiting respiratory symptoms can be considered a suspected case by the family doctor or the attending specialist, or the public health agency on the basis of the assessment of clinical and epidemiological data, such as the occurrence of multiple respiratory diseases in small communities, like hospital wards, workplaces, families or among friends).
The probable and confirmed case definitions are in line with WHO definitions [1,2].
Monitoring of the epidemiology of COVID-19 cases and their contacts is undertaken by the National Public Health Center, and the relevant County Government Office and/or the District Government Office of the patient's place of residence or stay. The epidemiological staff (the staff of public health departments and units) is responsible for the contact tracing.
The suspected case is reported by the doctor (e.g. GP, doctor in an outpatient care institution, ambulance doctor) to the public health department of the district office by phone. Then the Public Health Department of the district office notifies the county government office.
In case of inpatient care / admission, the Department of Public Health of the County Government Office must be notified. The Department of Public Health of the County Government Office reports the suspected cases to the Department of Epidemiology and Infection Control of the National Public Health Center by filling out daily the requested table .
After a COVID-19 outbreak in one elderly care home operated by the municipality of Budapest, the official communication started to pay special attention to cases from nursing homes. Since 9th of April, the daily official communication highlights the confirmed cases and deaths from these social care homes. On the 15th of April, the Chief Medical Officer announced that an inspection of elderly care homes has started throughout the country with a focus on health care services and the skills of workers.