The Health And Family Welfare ministry has come up with guidelines for home isolation of people who either have very mild COVID 19 symptoms or are in the pre-symptomatic phase. According to experts, coronavirus cases that have mild symptoms far exceed those that reach very critical conditions.
At present in India all suspected cases i.e. those who are awaiting their results and confirmed cases are quarantined in a hospital setting and during the containment phase, the patients are clinically assigned as very mild/mild, moderate or severe and accordingly admitted to (i) COVID Care Centre, (ii) Dedicated COVID Health Centre or (iii) Dedicated COVID Hospital respectively.
Now people with mild symptoms who have the requisite facilities can self-isolate at home. The guidelines say that for a person to be eligible for home isolation, first they need to be ‘clinically assigned as a very mild case/pre-symptomatic case by the treating medical officer.’ The guidelines further elaborate on all the requirements for self-isolation such as the availability of a caregiver 24/7 who will also act as the communication link with the hospital. Other instructions include:
The caregiver and all close contacts should take Hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per protocol and as prescribed by the treating medical officer.
Arogya Setu App should be downloaded, and it should always remain active.
The patient shall agree to monitor his health and regularly inform his/her health status to the District Surveillance Officer for further follow up by the surveillance teams.
The patient will also fill in an undertaking on self-isolation.
Additionally, the patients are supposed to follow the guidelines issued by the ministry on ‘Home Quarantine’. (available in https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Guidelinesforhomequarantine.pdf).
These include steps such as staying away from elderly people, pregnant women, children, and persons with co-morbidities within the household. Following hygiene protocols such as washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer and other instructions.
The guidelines say that self-isolation is supposed to be stopped after ‘symptoms are clinically resolved, and the surveillance medical officer certifies him to be free of infection after laboratory testing’. But if the condition worsens then the patient needs to seek immediate medical attention.