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Monday, August 03, 2020

Covid-19 cases: Centre eases home isolation rules

The earlier guidelines had said that patients will end home isolation after 17 days of onset of symptoms and no fever for 10 days.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: July 3, 2020 11:11:07 am
Coronavirus home isolation rules A lab technician at a Sarvodaya Vidalaya in Delhi, which has been converted into a Covid testing centre. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

With a large number of asymptomatic Covid-19 cases being detected in the country, the Centre on Thursday issued revised guidelines for home isolation, according to which patients under home isolation will stand discharged after 10 days of onset of symptoms and no fever for three days.

The earlier guidelines had said that patients will end home isolation after 17 days of onset of symptoms and no fever for 10 days.

The revision in the home isolation guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would effectively result in asymptomatic patients being termed a case of discharge in a shorter period of time, and this would result in more recoveries being reported in a shorter period of time.

“Patient under home isolation will stand discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for 3 days. Thereafter, the patient will be advised to isolate at home and self-monitor their health for a further 7 days. There is no need for testing after the home isolation period is over,” the revised guidelines state.

They state that elderly patients aged more than 60 years and those with co-morbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung/liver/ kidney disease, cerebro-vascular disease shall “only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer”.

The revised guidelines, however, say that patients suffering from immune compromised status (HIV, transplant recipients, cancer therapy, etc) are not eligible for home isolation.

For asymptomatic, very mild and pre-symptomatic patients under home isolation, the Centre has laid down three additional symptoms when they have to seek medical attention: dip in oxygen saturation (SpO2 < 95%), slurred speech/seizures, and weakness or numbness in any limb or face.

The other symptoms — which continue to be in the home isolation guidelines — when the patients need to seek medical attention are difficulty in breathing, persistent pain/pressure in the chest, mental confusion or inability to arouse, and developing bluish discolorations of lips/face.

The revised guidelines also state that district surveillance should monitor all the home isolation cases. “The health status of those under home isolation should be monitored by the field staff/surveillance teams through personal visit along with a dedicated call center to follow up the patients on daily basis. The clinical status of each case shall be recorded by the field staff/call center (body temperature, pulse rate and oxygen saturation). The field staff will guide the patient on measuring these parameters and provide the instructions (for patients and their care givers). This mechanism to daily monitor those under home isolation shall be strictly adhered to,” the guidelines state.

“Details about patients under home isolation should also be updated on COVID-19 portal and facility app (with DSO as user). Senior State and District officials should monitor the records updation,” the guidelines state.

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