Based on a recommendation by a committee of experts to introduce a system of home isolation for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, a ministerial task force of the Karnataka government on Friday approved introduction of home isolation, provided the houses of asymptomatic patients have a room for isolation with an attached bathroom.
An expert panel had recommended home isolation as a means to ease pressure on hospitals and institutions on account of a spike in Covid-19 cases in cities like Bengaluru, since nearly 70 per cent of cases are asymptomatic.
“An SOP has been put out for home quarantine of asymptomatic patients. The technical committee’s report on home isolation has been accepted by the task force,” Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said after a meeting of the Covid-19 task force on Friday.
The home isolation provision will be applicable to patients below the age of 50, with oxygen saturation of 95 per cent or above and those who do not have any co-morbidities. The home isolation period will be for 17 days instead of the normal 14 days, with regular health monitoring by health officials, Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said.
“Only those who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic shall be allowed to be in isolation at home. They shall be oriented to the protocol of home isolation. Health teams shall visit the house and assess its suitability for home isolation and also do triage of the patient,” according to the SOPs released by the health department.
If a patient does not fit the criteria for home isolation or if the house is not suitable, then the person must be moved to an institutional facility, according to the SOP.
The total active cases in Bengaluru surged from 1,327 on June 26 to 6,297 on July 3. All 1,500 government hospital beds are occupied and nearly 1,000 are in private hospitals. The surge in patients is being managed by sending new asymptomatic patients to Covid Care Centres like hostels, hotels, Haj Bhavan, ashrams and other locations.
On Friday, a single-day high of 996 cases was reported in Bengaluru, among the 1,694 in the state.
“Home isolation of asymptomatic patients is a crucial step in reducing the burden of patients in hospitals. It was a private medical college that saved us last week by giving up 350 beds,” a government doctor liaising for beds for Covid-19 in Bengaluru said.
The Covid-19 ministerial task force on Friday also decided to implement a strategy of deploying two ambulances for each of the 198 wards in Bengaluru city to transport patients to hospitals, health centres and Covid Care Centres as required.
Sudhakar said that 8,800 booth-level task force committees will be formed in Bengaluru.
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