Delhi govt to hand out oxygen meters for Covid-19 patients in home isolation
The Delhi government is working on a plan to loan pulse-oximeters patients with mild symptoms of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for regular monitoring of oxygen levels during home isolation. With the number of cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on the rise and limited number of hospital beds available, the government is working on a plan of treating as many people as possible at their homes itself.
So far, 34,687 people in the city have contracted the viral infection. Of these, 20,871 are active cases or those still living with the infection. Data provided by the Delhi government shows that almost 70% of those with the infection in the city are currently in home-isolation.
“Delhi Govt. to distribute ‘Pulse Oximeters’ to Corona positive patients who are under home isolation, for regular checking of their oxygen levels. AAP government is making all efforts to assist patients in every possible way,” read a tweet from AAP’s official handle.
The government is procuring 1 lakh pulse-oximeters, a small clip-on device that has to be attached to the finger-tip to check the amount of oxygen in the body. Current guidelines say that Covid-19 patients have to be admitted to hospitals if their oxygen saturation drops to 90% or below (normal is 95 to 100%).
“The body not getting enough oxygen is one of the major reasons for Covid-19 deaths. Now, many patients panic and rush to the hospitals after testing positive because they do not know what to do. However, if every patient in home isolation has a pulse-oximeter they can keep monitoring their oxygen saturation regularly and rush to the hospitals in case the oxygen saturation dips below 93%,” said a senior official from Delhi’s health department.
The pulse-oximeter will have to be returned once the patient recovers. A pulse-oximeter costs between R 1,000 to 3,000.
A district level plan is being worked out to ensure that all Covid-19 patients get pulse-oximeters. “The government is currently planning how to implement a pilot project to provide devices, such as a pulse oximeter and a wrist-band that can monitor temperature and perimeter control, to patients in home-isolation. These devices will not only ensure that the temperature and oxygen level of patients are monitored regularly, it will also help the district officials to monitor if such patients are staying at home or not,” said a senior district level officer.
This is the best way to reduce Covid-19 mortality, added a member of the five-member committee, which has been set up to advice the government on strengthening of healthcare infrastructure. “Among patients who need hospitalisation, survival is the best among those who get oxygen early on. Now, how can the government ensure that people in home isolation reach the hospital on time and get medical assistance? Distributing the simple pulse-oximeter will allow patients to monitor their own oxygen levels and rush to the hospital in case of an emergency,” said Dr Arun Gupta, president of the Delhi Medical Council.
The committee has suggested that the government would need to create over 40,000 hospital beds for Covid-19 patients with severe disease by mid-July. With the L-G now also allowing treatment of those from neighbouring states in Delhi, the government is planning to create 1.5 lakh hospital beds – some in stadiums, banquet halls, and dharmashalas – by July-end.
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