With the number of active Covid-19 cases rising steeply, and hospitals under strain as a result, the Kerala government on Monday decided to allow asymptomatic patients to stay at home and get treatment.
On Monday, Kerala reported the highest single-day surge of 1,725 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
The state also revised treatment guidelines after incorporating shortness of breath during exercise (exertional dyspnea), a symptom of the disease. State Health Minister K K Shailaja claimed Kerala is the first state in the country to revise treatment guidelines factoring in shortness of breath as a symptom.
Shailaja said that asymptomatic patients do not have any underlying medical conditions will now be treated at home isolation. “There would be telephone monitoring and self-reporting of the symptoms. They will be given a fingertip pulse oximeter (to monitor the amount of oxygen in the body),’’ she said.
The minister said there will be regular monitoring of those under treatment at home. A local junior health inspector or an ASHA worker or a volunteer would periodically visit the patients to assess their situation, she said. The medical officer at each primary health centre would be in charge of monitoring patients within jurisdiction of that primary health centre.
The decision to allow home care for asymptomatic patients comes at a time when the number of active coronavirus cases has been on a steady rise in Kerala. For the last one week there has been a steady four-digit rise in numbers of confirmed cases reported, and the government has predicted that the daily cases will grow further in a few weeks.
Given the spike, the state’s health system has been under strain after several hospitals, including medical colleges, became Covid-19 clusters.