“It has come to (our) notice that many asymptomatic and mild symptom cases have been admitted in the hospital facilities,” says the order. It says such patients should be sent for home isolation. If their home is not suitable, they should be sent to Covid care centres or Covid health centres, it adds.
This comes days after the government ordered an inquiry against some private labs for testing asymptomatic patients and delaying reports.
A senior official in the state health department said the order was in conformity with guidelines issued by the Centre.
‘Don’t keep suspected and confirmed cases in 1 ward’
The guidelines issued by the Union health ministry clearly state asymptomatic and mild symptom cases do not need hospitalisation,” pointed out the official.
This order on admission policy comes against the backdrop of multiple complaints from citizens about denial of admission to Covid hospitals which, in some cases, has even led to death of the patient.
The Delhi government recently launched an app where people can see in real time the availability of beds in the city hospitals. All hospitals have been asked to add their daily admissions of positive patients, discharges and changes in bed availability status on a real-time basis on the App.
“In addition, it must be noted that if there are any Covid-19 suspect admissions in the hospital facility, they must be kept in a separate ward and, therefore, the number of isolation beds dedicated for Covid patients must not be allocated to any suspect patients,” the government has ordered.
Delhi has reported a total of 26,334 Covid-19 cases and 708 persons are confirmed to have died due to the viral infection. On Friday, government data showed there were 15,311 active cases. Of this, 3,899 (25%) were admitted in hospitals, 187 (1%) were at Covid health centres, which are equipped with basic medical facilities, and 1,060 (7%) in isolation at Covid care centres.
Dr S K Sarin, chairman of the task force appointed by the Delhi government for Covid-19 management in the state, said mild and asymptomatic cases should be managed at home or at Covid care centres or Covid health centres. “Hospitals should be reserved for severely ill patients, those with high grade fever and very low oxygen saturation,” he said.
The committee led by Dr Sarin had suggested making some hospital-hotel clusters in Delhi where people with mild symptoms of Covid-19 –who cannot stay at home and don’t want to go to quarantine facilities either — could stay on a payment basis. Only a few such clusters have been created across the state as yet.
Many doctors argue that the decision on whether a patient requires admission or not should be left to the treating physician. “A 55-year-old patient with mild symptoms may require admission if he or she has co-morbidities, such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. We have observed that many such patients deteriorate very fast on the seventh to eighth day of the infection due to sudden deterioration in oxygen saturation levels. If that happens, the patient will be forced to run from one hospital to another looking for a bed with adequate medical support, like high-pressure oxygen or a ventilator,” said a senior doctor, who did not wish to be quoted.