Government changes discharge policy for COVID-19 patients
Discharge policy has been changed as part of a shift from ‘test-based strategy to ‘symptom-based strategy or ‘time-based strategy’: Health Ministry
– globalbihari bureau
New Delhi: Government has revised the discharge policy for confirmed COVID-19 patients. The earlier criteria for discharging RT-PCR positive were chest radiograph must be clear and two consecutive RT PCR test should result in negative test results. According to the revised policy, for mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases and moderate cases, discharge will be based on clinical conditions, and testing was not required.
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, explained on Monday that the discharge policy was changed because several countries have changed their discharge criteria from ‘test-based strategy to ‘symptom-based strategy or ‘time-based strategy’. “As per ICMR review from lab surveillance data, in initial cases for RT-PCR positive results, patients turned negative after 10 days. A few recent studies have also shown that viral load peaks in the pre-symptomatic period (2 days before symptoms) and goes down over the next 7 days. It is also important to note that this discharge policy is not meant for home or facility quarantine patients in case of asymptomatic/ healthy person who has been exposed to the virus but does not show any symptoms. However, their stay at quarantine facility will remain 14 days from last exposure as per already issued MHA guideline on 5th May,” Agarwal said.
A detailed set of FAQs related to discharge policy is available on the Health Ministry’s website, he informed.
Agarwal said that the Ministry of Health has issued revised guidelines for home isolation of very mild/pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases. According to the new guideline, for very mild/pre-symptomatic COVID cases there is no need for testing after the end of the home isolation period.