NEW DELHI: The quarantine period for healthcare workers with high-risk exposure to confirmed Covid-19 cases has been reduced from 14 days to one week initially, according to the latest advisory by the Union Health Ministry issued on Thursday.
The “Advisory for managing Health care workers working in Covid and non-Covid areas of the hospital” said that after one week, a decision will be taken by the internal committee or head of the departments of the hospital on whether they can return to work depending on their health status and risk assessment.
“After a week, they shall be tested as per ICMR testing protocol, actively monitored for development of symptoms and managed as per laid down protocol,” said the guidelines.
“If they test positive but remain asymptomatic they will follow protocol for very mild or pre-symptomatic cases and if they test negative and remain asymptomatic, they will complete 14-day quarantine and return to work,” it said.
In case they develop symptoms they would be required to follow a different set of protocols.
It also said that a buddy system be followed in hospitals to ensure that there is no breach in infection prevention control practices.
“Under this approach, two or more-person team is formed amongst the deployed hospital staff who share responsibilities for his/her partner’s safety and well-being in the context of - appropriate donning and doffing of PPEs, maintaining hand hygiene and taking requisite steps on observing breach of PPE,” said the guideline.
As per the old advisory issued last month -health care workers exposed to the Covid-19 patients were to be quarantined for 14 days, tested as per ICMR testing protocol, actively monitored for development of symptoms, and managed as per laid down protocol.
The new advisory has also directed all hospitals to activate their Hospital Infection Control Committee “The HICC in the health facility is responsible for implementing the Infection Prevention and Control activities and organising regular training on IPC for HCWs,” it said.