Govt tweaks hospitalisation rules to reduce stress on healthcare Home quarantine for all asymptomatic COVID patients, contacts, rail travelers

TNN Bureau. Updated: 7/28/2020 11:09:59 AM Front Page

3 Jammu hosps reserved for only referrals; Ladakh shortens duration to 7 days

JAMMU: With no let up in rising Covid-19 cases and in order to avoid unnecessary strain on the health care system in Jammu and Kashmir, the government on Monday tweaked its hospitalisation rules and ordered that all asymptomatic patients with no co-morbidity and their asymptomatic contacts will be allowed to remain under home quarantine.
They would need a separate room at home, AAROGYA Setu application on their phones, and would report to hospitals only if their oxygen saturation levels—to be monitored with a pulse oximeter to be provided by PRIs--drops below 90%, the government said.
Along with this, the government also decided to allow home quarantine—post sampling—for rail travelers, even as it reserved the three tertiary hospitals in Jammu city as only referral hospitals for Covid-19 admissions, in line with the arrangement in Srinagar.
The significant decisions which come after experts warned of impeding scarcity of healthcare resources in near future, were taken in a meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam, to review COVID-19 mitigation measures on a day when Jammu and Kashmir recorded 470 new cases, taking its infection toll over 18-thousand-mark, to 18390, while 324 people have died in the UT so far.
The weekend lockdown in Jammu and two other districts of the region ended on Monday morning 6 am, while the 6-day-long lockdown also came to end in Valley, 12 hours later, with the government allowing regulated reopening of shops ahead of Eid.
In the neighbouring Ladakh, the UT administration modified the Unlock 2 guidelines and shortened the duration of home quarantine for all incoming persons to 7 days, while those with a Covid-19 test report not older than 48 hours before their arrival will be exempted from quarantine. The new guidelines will come into force from Wednesday.
In Kashmir region, the Directorate of Health Services made RT-PCR Covid-19 test mandatory for all private Nursing Homes and Hospitals before admitting any patient for any surgeries, after reports of violation of the same, and warned them of cancellation of their registration if these guidelines are not followed.
Earlier in Kashmir, the government had reserved four tertiary hospitals in Srinagar—SKIMS Soura, SKIMS Medical College Bemina, Chest Diseases Hospital and SMHS Hospital-- as referral only hospitals for Covid-19 patients.
On Monday, the government decided to institute a similar mechanism in Jammu city and declared GMC Jammu, CD Hospital and ASCOMS Sidhra as referral only hospitals.
“These hospitals shall now admit only such COVID-19 patients who have been referred to by other hospitals of Jammu Division while Gandhi Nagar Hospital and COVID Care Centre, Baghwati Nagar, shall now be primary centres for admission of COVID-19 patients in Jammu city,” said Chief Secretary.
The decision, he noted, has been taken with an aim to maintain availability of beds in tertiary hospitals across Jammu and Kashmir for acute COVID-19 cases who require specialized treatment or intensive care.
Asserting that the present practice of hospitalization of COVID-19 patients needs to be regulated so as to avoid unnecessary strain on the health care system, the Chief Secretary said that the hospital beds of tertiary hospitals are required to be kept available for more severe cases who may need intensive monitoring in a hospital setting.
Thus, the protocol with regard to management of COVID-19 patients has to be revised, he noted and ordered that all asymptomatic patients with no co-morbidity and not vulnerable otherwise will be allowed to remain under home quarantine, if they have a separate room facility at home and have downloaded the AAROGYA Setu application on their phones.
“All such patients will be provided with a pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen saturation levels and in event of drop in oxygen saturation below 90% they shall immediately report to hospitals. A poster shall also be put up outside their home displaying therein the quarantine status. Reach out teams constituted by the Health Department shall monitor health status of these patients,” Chief Secretary maintained.
Similarly, in order to achieve better compliance amongst the contacts of COVID-19 patients, it has been decided that the present practice of administrative quarantine of COVID positive contacts, would be dispensed and the contacts would be permitted home quarantine provided they are asymptomatic. “However, all contacts shall be sampled and the defined protocol shall be followed in case of contacts who report positive,” he observed.
Keeping in consideration low positivity rate amongst the rail and air travellers (0.9%), home quarantine would be permitted after sampling for such rail travellers who have a valid contactable phone number and have AAROGYA Setu application downloaded on their phones.
“In the event of any rail traveller turning positive, the standard protocol with regard to management of COVID-19 patients will be followed,” he added.
Chief Secretary further said that Panchayati Raj Institutions can play an important role in controlling spread of COVID-19.
He said that a massive campaign for surveillance involving Panchayati Raj Institutions will be initiated to help in identify suspect COVID-19 cases in rural areas. The PRIs shall be supplied pulse Oximeter and contactless thermometer for the purpose and they shall be imparted training for undertaking this activity, he added.
It may be mentioned that Jammu and Kashmir has seen sharp rise of Covid-19 cases in past one month.
In the period of 118 days, from its first infection on March 8 to June 30, the UT had recorded 7497 cases and 101 deaths.
However, in next 27 days--from July 1 till July 27—close to 11000 fresh cases and more than 220 deaths have been recorded, pushing the infections tally to 18390 and death toll to 324.

Comment on this Story