Home isolation guidelines: Do's and Don'ts to follow for COVID-19 patients

Updated: Apr 29, 2020, 10:19 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

Home isolation can only be discontinued when the symptoms are clinically resolved and the surveillance medical officer certifies the COVID-19 patient to be free of infection

This picture has been used for representational purpose only
This picture has been used for representational purpose only

Amid the rising number of coronavirus cases in India, the health ministry on Tuesday, issued home quarantine guidelines for people who have very mild symptoms of COVID-19. According to the guidelines, those with mild syptoms can opt for home isolation but will have to be in constant communication with the District Surveillance Officer, and a hospital and will have to sign an undertaking.

The present guidelines were issued in addition to guidelines on appropriate management of suspect/confirmed cases of Covid-19 issued by the Health Ministry on April 7

As per the revised guidelines, patients who have mild symptoms or are pre-symptomatic can now opt for self-isolation at their homes but they need to follow the norms laid down by the Health Ministry. 

Who is eligibile for self isolation at home?

COVID-19 patients who have been clinically assigned as a very mild case or pre-symptomatic case by the treating medical officer are eligible for self-isolation at home.

What are the pre-requisites in order to self-isolate at home?

  • Patients who are eligible for self-isloation at home must have a requisite facility at their place of residence for self-isolation. More so, the patients must also ensure that there is enough space for other members of the family to quarantine at home.
  • The patient must have a caregiver who can look after the patient and provide care 24x7. 
  • Another prerequisite is that there should be a communication link between the caregiver of the patient and the hospital during the entire duration of home isolation.
  • The caregiver and all the close contacts of the COVID-19 patient should take Hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per the protocol and as prescribed by the treating medical officer.
  • The patient has monitor his or her health and regularly inform their health status to the District Surveillance Officer for further follow up by the surveillance teams.
  • Finally, the patient needs to fill an undertaking on self-isolation stating that they shall follow all home quarantine guidelines laid down by the Health Ministry.

When should a COVID-19 patient seek medical attention?

According to the revised guidelines issued by the Health Ministry, mild or pre-symptomatic patients shall seek immediate medical attention on the following grounds.

  • When they face difficulty in breathing
  • If they experience persistent pain/pressure in the chest
  • Feel mentally confused or inability to arouse
  • If they develop bluish discolorations of lips or face
  • And if advised by treating medical officers

When will home isolation end?

Home isolation for COVID-19 patients can only be discontinued when the symptoms are clinically resolved and the surveillance medical officer certifies the mild or pre-symptomatic patient to be free of infection after the necassary laboratory testing.

Do's and don'ts for self-isolation patients and caregivers

  • Caregivers must wear triple layered medical mask when in the same room with the COVID-19 patient.
  • Caregivers should avoid direct contact with body fluids of the patient, especially oral or respiratory secretions.
  • Caregivers must use disposable gloves while handling the patient. Hand hygiene should be undertaken done before and after removing gloves.
  • Caregivers should pay strict attention to hand hygiene before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the toilet, and whenever the hands look dirty.
  • Caregivers should avoid sharing cigarettes, eating from the same utensils, or exposing themselves to used towels or bed linen.
  • COVID-19 patient should wear triple layer medical mask at all times. The patient must discard the mask after eight hours of use or earlier if they have become wet or visibly soiled.
  • The patient must isolate themselves in a room and stay way from people.
  • Patient must stay away from the elderly who maybe suffering from co-morbid conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, renal disease.
  • During self-isolation, mild or pre-symptomatic patients must drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated and follow respiratory etiquette all the time.

With inputs from Agencies

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