Punjab on Friday started discharging patients under the new policy issued by the Union Health Ministry with the first batch of asymptomatic patients walked out of Amritsar and Tarn Taran hospitals. While Centre had revised the guidelines a few days back, Punjab took its time in adopting it.
A letter from the Department of Health and Family Welfare went out to all DCs, SSPs and Civil Surgeons of the state on Thursday, and it was put into action Friday.
“Revised Discharge Policy for mild, very mild, symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic cases can be discharged from isolation health facility without testing, provided they have are asymptomatic (no fever, breathlessness) for more than 3 days,” the letter stated. It further said that all close contacts of home quarantined persons will take Hydroxychloroquine as per the protocol and as prescribed by the treating Medical Officer.
Civil surgeon Tarn Taran Anoop Kumar confirmed that some patients had been discharged on Friday under new discharge policy. A spokesman for Punjab Cabinet minister of Medical and Higher Education O P Soni confirmed that patients under new policy were discharged from the Guru Nanak Dev hospital Amritsar too.
All 80 patients, who were discharged from Amrtisar on Friday, were not tested before being allowed to go.
According to the new poliy, asymptomatic returnees from other states can also remain quarantined at their homes instead of government quarantine as was case in old policy.
“Persons returning from other states should be screened for symptoms. Asymptomatic persons may be sent for home quarantine for 14 days. Symptomatic persons should be taken to isolation centers and tested for Covid-19 with RT-PCR. If test is negative, they can be discharged after symptoms subside. If positive, the revised discharged policy to be followed.”
New policy will also send asymptomatic persons in government-run quarantine centers to their homes.
“Those already in government-run quarantine centers and are asymptomatic and tested negative for COVID-19 can be sent home with instructions for home quarantine for total of 14 days,” reads the revised policy.
According to the policy, “Discharging without test, the patient should be clinically assessed for the resolution of symptoms by the treating
Medical Officer….Also the patient should have the requisite facilities at their residence for self-isolation and also for quarantining the family contacts, i.e clean, well-ventilated rooms with attached washrooms for the patient and home contacts.”
The treating medical officer will certify that the patient is symptom-free as per guidelines and fit for home isolation.
Further, the patient will give an undertaking for self-isolation to ensure the availability of adequate facilities for isolation. A communication link between the caregiver and hospital will be established for the entire duration of home isolation.
The patients would also have to download COVA app and keep it active at all times.
15 set for discharge under new policy test positive
Fifteen patients, who are due for discharge Saturday under the new policy, have tested positive in Amritsar. These patients have already completed 10-day quarantine and remained asymptomatic. Being treated at Sri Guru Ram Das Charitable Hospital, a dedicated Covid hospital, they are eligible for discharging.
The hospital Friday discharged 51 out 71 patients under treatment here.
“On May 13, samples of these 71 patients were sent to Government Medical College, Amritsar. Out of 71 patients 51 patients tested negative and 15 patients tested positive for the coronavirus. 51 corona negative patients have been discharged from the hospital today.” said Dr A P Singh from the facility.
He added: “We will discharge these 15 Covid-19 positive patients on Saturday according to new policy. They all are asymptomatic for more than 10 days. So, they can be discharged under new policy.”
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