Health Minister A L Hek has criticised the revised Covid-19 patient discharge policy issued by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and notified by State Commissioner and Secretary of Health Department Sampath Kumar recently.
The revised discharge policy for Covid-19 notified by the Health Department recently has caused a lot of worry among people, especially recovered patients and their family members.
Speaking to this newspaper today, Hek said the revised discharge policy was unreasonable and his department has decided not to discharge any recovered Covid-19 patients from corona care centre till they have been tested after ten days of symptom onset.
“We will not discharge any Covid-19 patients from hospitals or corona care centres without carrying out RT-PCR test after ten days of symptom onset. We will ensure that the recovered patients are tested before sending them home. Those who are still positive of the virus will not be discharged,” Hek said.
“We will not follow the revised discharge policy even if it issued by ICMR or notified by Commissioner and Secretary Sampath Kumar,” Hek asserted.
Stating that the Health Department has worked together with local headmen and Community Covid-19 Management Committees (CCMCs) since the beginning to combat the spread of Covid-19 in the State, Hek said that sending recovered patients home without testing them posed grave risk to family members and the community.
Hek also said that the revised discharge policy issued by ICMR was notified by Commissioner and Secretary Sampath Kumar without any discussion in the Health Department.
According to the new discharge policy, persons who are mild or pre-symptomatic of Covid-19 should be discharged from corona care centres after ten days of symptom onset and after they showed no fever for three days.
Similarly, for moderate Covid-19 patients, they can be discharged from corona care centres after ten days of symptom onset. In these two cases, no RT-PCR test is required before discharge. The patients have to be isolated at home for seven days after discharge.
However, for severe case, the patients can be discharged only after clinical recovery and also after they tested negative in RT-PCR test.
As per the revised discharge policy, mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases admitted to a Covid care facility will undergo regular temperature and pulse oximetry monitoring. The patient can be discharged after ten days of symptom onset and no fever for three days in such cases. There will be no need for testing prior to discharge.
At the time of discharge, the patient will be advised to follow the home isolation for further seven days.
Cases which are clinically classified as “moderate cases” will undergo monitoring of body temperature and oxygen saturation.
If the fever resolves within three days in moderate cases and the patient maintains saturation above 95 per cent for the next four days (without oxygen support), such patient will be discharged after ten days of symptom onset in case of absence of fever without antipyretics, resolution of breathlessness and no oxygen requirement, it mentioned.
Patients on oxygenation whose fever does not resolve within three days and demand of oxygen therapy continue, such patients will be discharged only after resolution of clinical symptoms and their ability to maintain oxygen saturation for three consecutive days.