COVID third wave: Home care to deal with Omicron surge in Kerala

Though variant is fast spreading, it is mild & hosp beds need to be reserved for those requiring constant monitoring under expert care

Published: 06th January 2022 06:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th January 2022 08:02 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home care has yet again been suggested as the practical method to deal with the Omicron- driven third wave of Covid.

This time, it becomes even more relevant as the new variant of the Covid-causing virus is expected to infect more people while the symptoms remain mild in most cases.

Under the circumstances, it is important that hospital beds are reserved for those requiring constant monitoring under expert care.

The fast spreading and immune escaping nature of the Omicron variant also means that an infected family member is capable of infecting all other members.

So, in the third wave, it is likely that mildly-infected family members will be caring for the severely- infected ones at home.

According to health experts, how well the families adapt to the situation will become an important factor determining the impact of the third wave in the state.

The home care of Covid patients was actively introduced during the second wave.

The system helped reduce the pressure on hospitals during the surge.

In home care, family members monitor the symptoms of the infected, communicate with a health worker in the locality and follow expert advice, with the option available to shift the patient to the hospital if needed.

Though the guidelines look good on paper, the laxity in following the protocol has also been blamed for the rise in Covid cases, and adding to the death toll.

There have been some institutional failings, like a delay in providing test results, poor contact tracing and ill-equipped monitoring at the periphery, that put a question mark on home care.

“People need to be trained using digital and offline methods on following home care practices. Earlier, uninfected family members took care of the infected. Now it is time to help each other back to health,” said Dr S S Santhosh Kumar, deputy superintendent with the Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital.

The home isolation guidelines issued by the ministry of health and family welfare on Wednesday said the caregiver, who acts as a link between patient and medical officer, should be fully vaccinated.

It also explains that people with co-morbidity should undergo home quarantine on being tested positive only after a proper evaluation.

The state’s health department is also expected to issue similar guidelines soon.

The later part of the Delta surge showed a general reluctance to get tested. It resulted in formation of family clusters, putting the vulnerable at risk.

49 new Omicron cases confirmed in state

Thiruvananthapuram: The number of people who tested positive for Omicron has crossed 200 after 49 new cases were confirmed on Wednesday. Almost all districts have reported at least one Omicron case.

The newly infected are from Thrissur (10), Kollam (8), Ernakulam (7), Malappuram (6), Alappuzha (3), Palakkad (3), Kozhikode (2), Kasaragod (2), Thiruvananthapuram (1), Pathanamthitta (1), Kottayam (1), Idukki (1), Kannur (1) and Wayanad (1).

Keeping the third wave at bay

Asymptomatic cases

Those tested positive without any symptom, oxygen saturation at room air of more than 93%.

Mild cases

Patients with upper respiratory tract symptoms with or without fever, oxygen saturation at room air of more than 93%.

Ministry of health and family welfare guidelines

  • Seven-day home quarantine for patients in home.

  • They stand discharged if they have no fever for three days in a row.

  • No need for re-testing after home isolation.

  • Continue wearing masks.

  • Asymptomatic contacts of infected individuals need not undergo Covid test. Monitor health in home quarantine.


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