Thiruvananthapuram: In the wake of the rise in COVID-19 cases, the health department of the Kerala government has revised its hospital discharge policy.
It will differ for patients based on the severity of infection in them that is mild, moderate and severe, said Health Minister Veena George.
Patients with mild symptoms
Those with mild symptoms need not wait for an antigen test result to get discharged.
A 7-day home quarantine has been advised for COVID-positive patients and for those who are symptomatic - from the day symptoms started. If the fever does not persist for three more days, the quarantine can be discontinued.
During home quarantine, patients are advised to take a daily six-minute walk test.
If the patient feels unwell during the walk test/ if the oxygen level dips more than 3% from the base-line prior to the test/ or the oxygen saturation is under 94% while resting, patients should inform the hospital from where they were discharged or contact Disha toll-free 104, 1056.
If persons with mild symptoms are hospitalised, they are to be discharged if the fever does not persist 48 hours later and if health is stable.
Patients with moderate symptoms
Patients with moderate symptoms can be discharged if their health condition is stable.
If the fever does not persist in 72 hours without the intake of fever-reducing medicines and there is recovery from breathlessness/ no requirement for external oxygen support/ stable blood pressure/ no excessive fatigue, then the patient can be recommended room isolation at homes or shifted to a CFLTC.
Patients with severe symptoms
A rapid antigen test is advised on the 14th day after symptoms surface for patients with severe symptoms, besides HIV positive persons, those who underwent organ transplantation/ are undergoing cancer treatment/ with severe liver and kidney ailments and taking immunosuppressants.
If the test yields a negative result and if the fever does not persist in 72 hours without the intake of fever-reducing medicines and there is recovery from breathlessness/ no requirement for external oxygen support/ stable blood pressure/ no excessive fatigue, the patient can be discharged.
If the patient's health condition is unstable, depending on the facilities available at the hospitals, he/she can be shifted to ICU or non-ICU.
If the person is COVID positive, until a negative result emerges, testing has to be done every 48 hours.
If patients with severe diseases show improvement in health before 14 days, they should be shifted to CFLTCs and tested using antigen kits on the 14th day. Thereafter, for 7 more days the patient should wear N95 masks. If antigen tests yield positive results even after 20 days samples are to be sent for genome sequencing.