Patients flouting home isolation rules to be shifted to Covid centres
The Delhi government Monday asked district commissioners (DCs) to mandatorily shift any Covid-19 patient, being treated under home isolation, to institutional quarantine if the person is found violating Covid-19 protocols, said senior health officials.
Delhi government reports show that in 20 days, the number of Covid-19 patients under home isolation has increased by 133% -- from 8,119 on September 1 to 18,910 on September 20 (Sunday). Active cases in the city during the same period have increased by 102% -- from 15,870 to 32,097.
The directive was issued by special secretary (health and family welfare) Udit Prakash Rai after lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal, who is also the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, on Friday asked the government to explore an alternative strategy for Covid-19 control in the city, including revising the containment zone policy.
“All DCs may kindly ensure that in all such cases where the home isolation criteria are not being fulfilled by the positive patients, they must be shifted to CCC/Covid Health Centre/ Covid Hospitals as per their health condition without fail starting today (Monday). There should not be any laxity shown in adherence to the protocol of home isolation,” Rai said in his directive to all 11 districts in the city.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain’s office said field teams have been told to remain in frequent contact with neighbours of Covid-19 patients under home isolation to verify if these patients or families are violating protocols.
“We are also deputing additional trained civil defence volunteers to conduct inspections. Those who do not want to isolate at home, to avoid putting their family members at risk, may opt for the Delhi government facilities for free. For a more premium experience, two private hospitals – Max Saket Hospital and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital – have paid quarantine facilities,” the government spokesperson said.
A senior health official said nearly 2,000 homes are visited daily by field teams to check on people under home isolation. “Until last week, around 10 to 20 patients were being shifted to Covid Care Centres or hospitals every day. Now, with stricter enforcement and surveillance, this number is likely to increase,” the official said.
The health department clarified that each district has been specifically asked to check and ensure that only the patient who fulfils the laid down criteria for home isolation is allowed to get treated at home.
As per the protocol laid down by the Centre, which is being followed by Delhi, a Covid-19 patient under home isolation is considered discharged after 10 days of the onset of symptoms,if the person has no fever for three consecutive days. Thereafter, the patient is advised to isolate at home and self-monitor for seven more days. There is no need for testing after the home isolation period is over, but every discharged person must receive a fitness certificate from the district officials, state the guidelines issued by the Union health ministry on July 2.
In a special session of the Delhi Assembly on September 14, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had informed the House that around 96,000 people have recovered from Covid-19 under home isolation and that only 30 deaths were reported from among such patients.
Calling Delhi’s home isolation strategy a “model” for other states, he said providing pulse oximeters to such patients was the key to its “success” in addition to its tele counselling initiative.