Stricter home isolation key to relieve burden on hospitals – ET HealthWorld

With Covid-19 infections in the country on the rise, doctors and public health experts have called for stringent home isolation protocols, given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

“As the numbers increase and the possibility of pressure of patients needing hospitals go up, it would be more practical to have better stringent home isolation protocols for asymptomatic positive patients,” Sandeep Budhiraja, group medical director at Max Healthcare, told ET.

With studies indicating that the Omicron Covid-19 variant is highly transmissible, public health experts say there is a need to gear up to the possibility of having to provide services to a large number of people needing home isolation and not hospitalisation.

“We have to anticipate that Omicron will spread. Given the mild nature, home isolation and care need to be emphasised and supportive primary health care services need to be geared up,” said K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). Doctors say a vital part of home isolation care will be monitoring the progression of the disease and treatment compliance of patients at home.

“It appears that most Covid-19 cases due to Omicron are likely to be mild, and will not need hospitalisation. Indeed, it is best that hospitalisation is restricted to those who need oxygen support, multiple IV drugs, or assisted ventilation, since it may be very difficult to contain spread in hospital (to non Covid-19 patients, and healthcare workers) itself despite all possible precautions,” said Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis C-DOC, a Delhi-based hospital.

The Centre had earlier asked the states to ensure that infrastructure is strengthened, there are adequate stocks of drugs, and home isolation is supervised.

Last week, the D-G ICMR had said that no change is required in the clinical protocol and home-based care.

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