The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has modified its guidelines to make institutional isolation mandatory for all Covid-19 positive patients aged above 50 years in Mumbai, irrespective of whether they have any symptoms of the infection.
Patients may choose either government or private hospitals to undergo institutional isolation, said the civic body.
In the first 15 days of August, Mumbai had recorded 588 deaths due to Covid-19. Of the 244 people who died in private hospitals, 94 per cent were above the age of 50 years.
Among the 588 deceased, while 75 per cent sought admission within two days of testing positive, 6.6 per cent got admitted two to four days later and 11 per cent got admitted after six days.
“Many patients who are turning critical are being admitted late to hospitals. There is scope of intervention if they are monitored and screened early,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.
BMC Executive Health Officer Dr Mangala Gomare released the new isolation guidelines on Wednesday. As per the guidelines, home isolation will only be allowed for mild and asymptomatic patients below 50 years. Those above 50, even without comorbidity, have to be referred to Covid care centre, irrespective of symptoms.
“Most deaths have been recorded in the age group of 60 to 70 years, followed by those in the 50 to 60 age bracket. Hence, we decided to monitor those aged above 50 from the day they test positive,” Gomare said.
The new guidelines is set to spike demand for beds in both public and private hospitals. Among the 1.31 lakh Covid-19 cases reported by the city, almost half (55,894) were people aged above 50 years.
“This order will create fear in the mind of the people who are already not ready to undergo tests. This will also put pressure on the existing healthcare infrastructure. The attempt of the government to fill its jumbo Covid facilities will fail since members of the affluent class will not go to these facilities or any BMC-run care centre,” said Dr Deepak Baid, president of Association of Medical Consultants. Kakani, however, said that patients will be provided the choice of seeking private hospitalisation. The move will increase treatment costs for mildly ill Covid-19 patients aged more than 50 years who opt for private hospitals.
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