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Demand rises to send asymptomatic persons to home isolation

Experts say state wasting resources and exhausting health professionals, when Maharashtra and Andhra send asymptomatic patients to home quarantine. 

Published: 24th June 2020 07:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2020 07:27 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  Experts say state wasting resources and exhausting health professionals, when Maharashtra and Andhra send asymptomatic patients to home quarantine. According to officials, the govt should seriously consider creating more space in hospitals for patients with severe symptoms .The situation as of now does not warrant a complete shutdown of the capital city, says Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran

In the wake of predictions that there could be a spike in Covid-19 cases in Thiruvananthapuram in two weeks, demands have come from health officials that asymptomatic patients should be sent home. Even as many states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have been sending asymptomatic positive patients for home quarantine, Kerala is yet to take a call on the same. Experts say the state has been wasting resources and exhausting health professionals.

As per current norms, asymptomatic patients have to spend 14 days in hospital and wait for two consecutive negative test results to be discharged. Test results getting delayed prolong the stay at hospitals. According to health officials, the government should seriously consider sending them in home quarantine and create more space for patients with severe symptoms.

It is learned that the number of asymptomatic positive patients in the capital city is going up and according to sources around 20 Covid-19 patients being treated at Homoeo Medical College, Iranimuttom - one of the First Line Covid-19 Treatment Centres under the General Hospital - are asymptomatic. As on Tuesday, there are 70 active cases in Thiruvananthapuram. A total of 16,650 people are under surveillance, of which 16,477 people are in home or institutional quarantine.

“This is not the right way to use human resources during a pandemic. Many states have started sending asymptomatic patients for home quarantine. The government should make the decision at the earliest to send these patients home. The medical staff would get the much-needed rest. Also managing asymptomatic patients is very difficult. For such patients room quarantine would be more comfortable than a hospital room. Many of them complain about facilities available,” said a health official, who is on Covid duty.

The officials further pointed out that delay in getting test results also causes issues. “We are able to release them only when two consecutive results come out negative. In some cases even after the fifth test, the result will be positive prolonging the patients’ stay in hospital. The situation is getting worse and we expect a spike in the number of cases from the district in the next two weeks. It takes 48 hours to get the result and efforts should be taken to minimise the waiting period else it would be tough to manage. If there is a spike we will not be able to accommodate more patients also,” said a source.

Dr B Ekbal, who heads the expert panel on Covid-19, said such a decision can be taken only on the basis of facts. “The government is undertaking antibody tests to find whether there is community spread or not in Kerala. Once the report is out the government will be able to act accordingly,” said Ekbal.Though the government has decided to rope in private hospitals for Covid-19 care, it’s yet to implement it. Dr Sreejith N Kumar of the IMA said many hospitals have placed proposals before the government to start Covid-19 treatment.“The situation doesn’t demand the stepping in of private hospital for Covid-19 treatment. But if the situation escalates and there is a spike, the private hospitals would start taking Covid-19 patients,” said Sreejith N Kumar.



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