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Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Explained: Health Ministry’s revised discharge policy for Covid-19 patients

As per revised guidelines, after discharge, patients need to follow home isolation for seven days.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 12, 2020 1:32:38 pm
Explained: Health Ministry's revised discharge policy for Covid-19 patients Covid-19 cases that are mild, very mild and pre-symptomatic can be discharged without testing ten days after onset of symptoms. (AP Photo: Yong Teck Lim)

On Friday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released its revised policy for the discharge of COVID-19 patients.

Discharge policy for mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases

Such cases can be discharged without testing ten days after onset of symptoms and if they are not running a fever for at least three days. In the earlier advisory, COVID-19 patients could be discharged only after chest radiograph clearance, viral clearance in respiratory samples, and if two of the patient’s specimens were negative within a period of 24 hours.

Now, as per revised guidelines, after discharge, patients need to follow home isolation for seven days. However, if before their discharge the patient’s oxygen saturation drops below 95 percent, the patient will be moved to a COVID Health Centre. It is important that oxygen saturation is maintained at the required levels since if the oxygen levels start falling below 90 percent, patients may experience lethargy, confusion or mental disruptions.

Moderate cases admitted to dedicated COVID Health Centre

Cases clinically classified as moderate will undergo monitoring of body temperature and oxygen saturation. If the fever resolves within three days and the patient maintains an oxygen saturation level above 95 percent for the next four days without oxygen support, such patients will be discharged after ten days of symptom onsetgiven:

Absence of fever

Resolution of breathlessness

No oxygen requirement

If these conditions are satisfied, moderate patients also do not need to be tested before they are discharged and will be advised to follow at home isolation for a period of seven days.

Further, for moderate cases whose fever does not resolve within three days and who require oxygenation, they will be discharged only after the resolution of clinical symptoms and if they are able to maintain oxygen saturation for three consecutive days. No RT-PCR tests are required for these patients as well.

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Severe cases including immunocompromised patients with HIV or transplant recipients

The discharge policy for severe cases is based on clinical recovery and they will have to be tested by RT-PCR after the resolution of their symptoms.

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