The union government’s new guidelines on discharging asymptomatic Covid-19 patients without another round of testing is still under consideration of the Punjab government.
The state government has found that 13 of the asymptomatic patients — all pilgrims who had returned from Hazur Sahib, Nanded — are still testing positive and remain asymptomatic, after more than 10 days of treatment at the Guru Nanak Dev Hospital of Government Medical College, Amritsar.
“Very mild, mild and pre-symptomatic cases can be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for three days. No test is required before discharge from Covid-19 care centres,” say the Union government guidelines.
Earlier, the patient had to test negative twice for Covid-19 before being discharged.
Around 234 Covid-19 patients have undergone treatment in Amritsar and more than 200 of them are asymptomatic.
“We have conducted retesting on the Covid-19 patients who had already spent more than 10 days under treatment at GMC Amritsar. All these patients were asymptomatic. Total 33 of them have been tested negative, which is good news. But 13 are still positive. We have send the report to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh,” said Minister of Higher Education O P Soni.
Asymptomatic patients who tested positive in retesting are a worry for the state government.
“According to recent Union government guidelines, we should had already discharged many of these asymptomatic positive patients without testing. We have tested them after completion of 10 days and 33 patients have been found negative, which is a good sign. But some of them are still positive. Now imagine if we had discharged these positive patients without testing, there was a possibility that some of them might have created a new chain,” said a health department official.
“We understand that after discharge, a patient should remain in home quarantine for seven more days, but that may not be enough because we had cases where patient took around a month to test negative,” said a health department official.
Medical Superintendent Raman of GMC confirmed that one patient took 41 days to recover.
This patient was asymptomatic for his last 27 days in hospital. According to Union government guidelines, he would had been out of home quarantine for 7 days and would had remained positive for 20 more days.
“It would be another headache for the health department to keep an eye on the asymptomatic patient under home quarantine,” said a health department official.
“We have been considering the central government guidelines, but at the same time we have also sent the latest data on positive patients to the CM. He will take a final decision in implementing guidelines,” said Soni.
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