In accordance with the new discharge policy, 45 patients from Bapu Dham Colony, who are asymptomatic for the disease, have been discharged from PGIMER and shifted to Sood Dharamshala for seven days of quarantine.
Until now, PGIMER was testing every patient with RT PCR machine twice within a period of 24 hours before discharging them, regardless of their symptoms. However now, in accordance with the new discharge policy issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the hospital has discharged asymptomatic patients after a period of 10 days of hospitalisation without conducting tests.
Apart from the 45 patients shifted to Sood Dharamshala without testing on Wednesday, 34 were discharged from the Dhanwantri Ayurveda College in Sector 46 and shifted to Sood Dharamshala as well.
There are a total of 79 patients from Bapu Dham Colony now kept under institutional surveillance for a period of seven days, though they have officially been deemed as recovered and no longer count as active cases of COVID-19 in the city.
Furthermore, three more patients from Bapu Dham Colony were discharged from PGIMER. However, these patients, which comprise two women aged 16 and 50 and a 10-year-old boy, were tested by RT PCR machine twice within a period of 24 hours before being discharged from the hospital. A total of 48 Bapu Dham Colony residents were hence discharged on Wednesday.
Will propel false complacency, says doctor
An epidemiologist from the city claims that the move to discharge patients in bulk without testing might instill a dangerous sense of complacency in Chandigarh.
“People will start thinking everything is OK. Lockdown will cease, regulations will become lax and the infection can spread even faster. With testing reigned in and so many asymptomatic patients, we don’t know to what extent this will grow,” the public health expert says.
The new discharge guidelines were formulated on the basis of studies which indicate that though the viral load in patients can exist in patients for more than 28 days, asymptomatic patients are unlikely to spread the infection after 10 days of contracting the infection.
“However, there is of course always a slight chance that people after being discharged won’t take the measures to isolate and curb the spread of infection. Even if one per cent of all discharged remain potential carriers, it will infect so many others,” the doctor says.
No strict measure to ensure home quarantine after discharge
After people are discharged, they are meant to home quarantine for seven days if they have the means to isolate themselves at home. “The houses of these people will be tagged like it was done for quarantined foreign returnees and they will be asked to download Aarogya Setu,” says Health Secretery Arun Kumar Gupta. Beyond that no strict regulation will be placed to police discharged patients in home quarantine.
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