Covid-19 update: States assess mild cases to begin home-isolation

A patient with mild or pre-Covid-19 symptoms will be allowed home quarantine provided he or she lives in a place that allows strict isolation without having to intermingle with the rest of the family and a caregiver is present p 24*7 who is in direct touch with a nearby Covid-19 hospital.
Patients on the way to a quarantine centre in Mumbai.
Patients on the way to a quarantine centre in Mumbai.
Published on Apr 29, 2020 02:32 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

After the Centre on Monday released guidelines allowing mild or pre-symptomatic coronavirus cases to be home-quarantined, state governments have been directed to start assessing patients. Medical officer in state Covid-19 hospitals and district surveillance officers will take a call on whether a patient should be isolated at home.

A patient with mild or pre-Covid-19 symptoms will be allowed home quarantine provided he or she lives in a place that allows strict isolation without having to intermingle with the rest of the family and a caregiver is present p 24*7 who is in direct touch with a nearby Covid-19 hospital.

Under the guidelines, the patient would have to agrees to his or her health condition monitored, and report by telephone to the district surveillance officer on a daily basis, among other preconditions.

The patient will have to sign an undertaking of strict compliance with the do’s and don’ts. Experts say there was no need to wait this long for letting asymptomatic patients to be isolated at home.

“I am a big believer of keeping mildly infected {people} at home. It should have been done much earlier as in about 90% of the cases I would say symptoms are self-limiting, which means these will get better on their own. However, regular telephonic contact is a must so that at anytime if the patient’s condition deteriorates then they can be rushed to the nearest hospital,” says Dr T Jacob John, former head of virology department at the Christian Medical College, Vellore.

As per the assessment made by the medical officer, a patient is categorised as very mild or mild, moderate or severe, and admitted to a Covid care centre, a dedicated Covid health centre or a dedicated Covid hospital.

A Covid care centre, for mild or asymptomatic patients, is a facility created in hotels, hostels, lodges and even makeshift structures. “Instead of these facilities, a pre-symptomatic patient will be allowed to remain at home. But the patient has to strictly adhere to the norms,” said a senior health ministry official.

The caregiver of the patient, and close family contacts, will have to take the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic under the supervision of a medical officer.

Downloading the Arogya Setu app and keeping it on at all times is a prerequisite for allowing home isolation for positive cases.

Meanwhile, Union health secretary Preeti Sudan on Tuesday turned tough on hospitals which are turning away non-Covid patients, or insisting on them getting a Covid-19 test done before treatment. “All health services should remain functional during the lockdown,” Sudan wrote in a statement.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

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