CHENNAI: As the State is witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases and isolation facilities in hospitals running out, the government has changed strategy and begun to send mild and asymptomatic cases to home isolation.
Kilpauk Government Medical College Hospital sent 24 patients to home quarantine on Tuesday. “We sent 24 people for home quarantine and we will be sending a few people tomorrow to COVID care centres,” said Dr P Vasanthamani, Dean. Now, the hospital beds will be used for only those who need ICU or hospital care.
Who are eligible for home isolation?
“People clinically determined as very mild or asymptomatic case by their treating doctors. Such cases should have requisite facility at their residence for self-isolation and also for quarantining their family contacts. Availability of a well-ventilated single room preferably with an attached separate toilet is needed,” said the guidelines issued by the government.
However, Dr R Narayana Babu, Director of Medical Education (in-charge) said, “Other medical college hospitals in Chennai still have a few beds to accommodate patients. There are also over 4,000 beds available at COVID care centres. We will send patients to home isolation only after the beds in care centres are filled.”
The government issued guidelines for home isolation after the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine sent a proposal to that effect. According to the guidelines, a patient is free of home isolation only after a medical officer certifies him free of infection following a lab testing. A caregiver must be available all the time and monitor the patient’s health. Immediate medical attention must be sought in case of serious symptoms such as fever, cough, breathing difficulty or others.
A senior doctor at a Government Medical College Hospital said, “Home isolation will help save resources. Our doctors are exhausted and also more doctors and other frontline workers are getting infected. If we exhaust all our resources by attending patients with mild symptoms, then those who need ICU care might not be able to get it. So, it’s a good decision by the government. It will ease the burden on doctors and hospitals.”