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Kerala to discharge patients testing negative the first time in hospital

Under the new protocol, patients who are asymptomatic, or show mild symptoms, would be tested on the 10th day of hospital admission, sources in the Health Department said.

Until now, the state started testing all patients on the seventh day of their hospital admission, which continued until they reported two negative results for consecutive days at a 24-hour interval. (File Photo)

Changing its discharge protocol for Covid-19 patients, Kerala will now discharge people if they test negative the first time after their admission – once they complete their 14-day hospital stay.

Until now, the state started testing all patients on the seventh day of their hospital admission, which continued until they reported two negative results for consecutive days at a 24-hour interval.

Under the new protocol, patients who are asymptomatic, or show mild symptoms, would be tested on the 10th day of hospital admission, sources in the Health Department said.

“So far, we were starting testing of asymptomatic patients on the seventh day of their hospital admission. As per the revised protocol, they would be tested on the 10th day of admission,” a source said. “There would not be a repeat test if they turn negative at the first instance. However, discharge would be allowed only after 14 days into hospital admission.”

In case of patients with severe symptoms, the first test would be done on the 14th day of hospital admission. A second test would be held only if the first test does not return negative. However, all categories of patients would have to undergo seven-day home quarantine after discharge from hospital, the source said.

At present, Kerala conducts approximately 5,000 coronavirus tests each day, and the government plans to increase that number to 15,000 every day by the middle of July.

The Health Department expects the revised protocol to reduce pressure on testing labs, and on test kits.

The state may also be looking at a spike in cases as more expats return in the coming weeks — at present, 88 per cent of Kerala’s total caseload of 4,593 has been attributed to those who came either from abroad or other states.

Since June 26, Kerala is conducting antibody tests for all passengers returning from abroad on their arrival at airports in the state. According to data, antibody tests done for 13,800 passengers found 821 people testing positive for antibody. Such people are immediately shifted to hospitals for RT-PCR tests, sources said.

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