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Pradeep Singh

The Union Health Ministry has released revised guidelines for home isolation of mild/asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, elaborating the precautions needed to be followed by such patients and their families.

As per the guidelines, the patient should be clinically assigned as mild/ asymptomatic case by the treating Medical Officer. And, they have the requisite facility at their residence for self-isolation and for quarantining the family contacts.

A caregiver (Ideally someone who has completed his COVID-19 vaccination schedule) should be available to provide care on 24x7 basis. A communication link between the caregiver and a medical officer is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation. 

It further stated that elderly patients aged more than 60 years and those with co-morbid conditions such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart disease, Chronic lung/liver/ kidney disease etc shall only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer. 

Patients suffering from immune compromised status (HIV, Transplant recipients, Cancer therapy etc) are not recommended for home isolation and shall only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer. 

While a patient is allowed home isolation, all other members in the family including other contacts shall follow the home quarantine guideline, it stated.

Important Instructions For Patients

i. Patient must isolate himself from other household members, stay in the identified room and away from other people in home, especially elderly and those with co-morbid conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, renal disease etc. 

ii. The patient should stay in a well-ventilated room with cross ventilation and windows should be kept open to allow fresh air to come in. 

iii. Patient should at all times use triple layer medical mask. They should discard mask after 8 hours of use or earlier if the mask becomes wet or is visibly soiled. In the event of Caregiver entering the room, both Caregiver and patient may preferably consider using N-95 mask. 

iv. Mask should be discarded after cutting them to pieces and putting in a paper bag for a minimum of 72 hours.

v. Patient must take rest and drink lot of fluids to maintain adequate hydration. 

vi. Follow respiratory etiquettes at all times. 

vii. Undertake frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 40 seconds or clean with alcohol-based sanitizer. 

viii. The patients shall not share personal items including utensils with other people in the household. 

ix. Need to ensure cleaning of frequently touched surfaces in the room (tabletops, doorknobs, handles, etc.) with soap/detergent & water. The cleaning can be undertaken either by the patient or the caregiver duly following required precautions such as use of masks and gloves. 

x. Self-monitoring of blood oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter for the patient is advised. 

xi. The patient shall self-monitor his/her health with daily temperature monitoring (as given below) and report promptly if any deterioration of symptom is noticed. The status shall be shared with the treating Medical Officer as well as surveillance teams/Control room.

The Ministry has also advised that patient may utilise the tele-consultation platform made available by the district, state administration. If fever is not controlled with a maximum dose of Paracetamol 650 mg four times a day, they can consult the treating doctor.

According to the guidelines, "Patient under home isolation will stand discharged and end isolation after at least 7 days have passed from testing positive and no fever for 3 successive days and they shall continue wearing
masks."

However, there is no need for re-testing after the home isolation period is over. Asymptomatic contacts of infected individuals need not undergo Covid test and monitor health in home quarantine, it added.

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