The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has issued revised guidelines for home isolation of people who either have very mild coronavirus symptoms or are in the pre-symptomatic phase. Such patients with appropriate self-isolation facility at their residence will have the option of home isolation, according to a notification released by the government. Meanwhile, India's count of coronavirus cases today reached 67,152, and death toll 2,206, according to the data released by MoHFW. To contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, India is under an extended lockdown until 17 May.
Who is eligible for home isolation?
To be eligibile for home isolation, a person should be clinically assigned as a very mild case/pre-symptomatic case by the treating medical officer.
"A caregiver should be available to provide care on a 24x7 basis. A communication link between the caregiver and hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation. The caregiver and all close contacts of such cases should take hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per protocol and as prescribed by the treating medical officer," the MoHFW revised guidelines state.
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The patient will have to agree to monitor his/her health and regularly give updates on their health status to the district surveillance officer for further follow-up by surveillance teams.
"The patient will fill in an undertaking on self-isolation and shall follow home quarantine guidelines," the Ministry said.
Do note: The Aarogya Setu app must remain active at all times (through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi).
When to seek medical help?
Immediate medical attention must be sought if serious signs or symptoms develop. These could include difficulty in breathing, persistent pain/pressure in the chest, mental confusion or inability to wake up, developing bluish discolouration of lips/ face and as advised by treating medical officer.
For how long will home isolation continue?
Patients can discontinue home isolation after 17 days of onset of symptoms (or date of sampling, for pre-symptomatic cases) and no fever for 10 days. There is no need for testing after the isolation period is over.
The health ministry has also given some instructions to caregivers and patients.
MoHFW instructions for care-givers:
Wear a triple-layer medical mask appropriately when in the same room with the ill person.
A wet, dirty mask must be removed immediately
Avoid touching own face, nose or mouth.
Hand hygiene must be ensured following contact with an ill person
Avoid direct contact with body fluids of the patient, particularly oral or respiratory secretions. Use disposable gloves.
Food must be provided to the patient in his room.
The caregiver will make sure that the patient follows the prescribed treatment.
The caregiver and all close contact will self-monitor their health with daily temperature monitoring and report promptly if they develop any symptom suggestive of Covid-I9 (fever/cough/difficulty in breathing).
MoHFW instructions for the covid-19 patient:
Patient should at all times use a triple-layer medical mask. Discard mask after 8 hours of use or earlier if they become net or visibly soiled.
Mask should be discarded only alter disinfecting it with 1 per cent Sodium Hypochlorite.
Patient must stay in the identified room and away from other people in the home
Patient must take rest and drink a lot of fluids to maintain adequate hydration.
Don't share personal items with other people.
The patient must strictly follow the physician's instructions and medication advice.