Govt tweaks COVID-19 discharge policy, only severe cases to be tested

Coronavirus: Only severe cases need to be tested before discharge, says Centre in revised guidelines

Coronavirus: Only severe cases need to be tested before discharge, says Centre in revised guidelines

On Friday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released its revised policy for the discharge of COVID-19 patients. In mild and pre-symptomatic cases, hospitals can discharge patients only after 10 days of symptom onset and there is no fever for three days, according to the new guidelines.

"There will be no need for testing prior to discharge", the Ministry said.

Responding to a question over what precautions the patient should undertake during home isolation, it said the provision for home isolation of pre-symptomatic, very mild, mild confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been made, provided that such patients are assessed to be eligible for the same in terms of their clinical status and feasibility to successfully isolate in home environment settings.

Moderate cases have been categorised as these whose signs resolve inside three days and maintains saturation above 95% for the subsequent four days.

As per the Ministry, mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases admitted to a COVID care facility will undergo regular temperature and pulse oximetry monitoring.

The discharge will be based on clinical recovery and once the patient tests negative by RT-PCR.

India on Monday saw the highest jump in the coronavirus cases reported in a single day, and 97 fatalities in 24 hours.

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Until now, under the ministry's guidelines set in mid-March, patients could be discharged only after they had tested negative twice, 24 hours apart, in the standard diagnostic test that looks for viral genetic material.

At any point of time, prior to discharge, if the oxygen saturation dips below 95%, the patient will be moved to Dedicated COVID Health Centre (DCHC).

Patients on oxygen support whose fever does not subside within three days will be discharged only after their symptoms subside, or when they are able to maintain oxygen saturation for three consecutive days, the guidelines said. "There will be no need for testing prior to discharge", the revised discharge policy stated.

Patients with Covid-19, depending on whether they have mild, moderate or severe disease, are now distributed among Covid-care centres, Covid health centres and dedicated Covid hospitals across the country.

Such patients after being discharged will also follow home isolation for further seven days, the ministry said in its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Revised Discharge Policy.

"Total number of cases in India is 67,152 so far, of which 44,029 people are under medical supervision and total 20,917 people have been cured from the disease".

After discharge, if a mild case again develops fever, cough or breathing difficulty, he would need to contact Covid care centre of dial 1075 and his health follow-up will happen through teleconference on the 14th day.

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