People in Delhi who test coronavirus positive through a lab-based swab test will be first taken to a government centre for a medical officer to assess whether they qualify for home isolation, in new rules announced last night by the Arvind Kejriwal government.
Anyone who tests positive through a rapid antigen test will be assessed on the spot at testing centres or at centres in their vicinity.
The medical officer will determine how severe the patient's COVID-19 infection is and also check for co-morbidities. All moderate and severe cases will be transferred to the hospital. Patients who are asymptomatic but have other health conditions will also stay at Covid care centres or hospitals, the government has said.
For other asymptomatic or mild cases, a separate team will determine if a person's home is fit for quarantine. For home isolation, a person's apartment must have at least two rooms and separate toilets so that family members and neighbours are protected. f their home does not qualify, then even mild or asymptomatic cases will be transferred to a care centre.
All home isolation cases will be contacted telephonically for nine days by a team, which can either be from health centres or students from various medical colleges. Those in-home isolation will be discharged 10 days after they test positive.
The rules were put out after Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's order on home isolation was revised.
Last week, amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Delhi, the Lt Governor had overturned the Delhi Government's rules allowing home isolation for mild cases and ordered mandatory institutional quarantine for all. The move was opposed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, which said this would mean arranging over 90,000 hospital beds, virtually impossible amid rising demand.
The Lieutenant Governor's order was later modified. The centre said all coronavirus patients will have to go to COVID-19 care centres and those who have facilities at home and have no other risk factors like diabetes, hypertension or kidney problems, can home isolate.
Yesterday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said patients allowed home isolation would be provided with pulse oximeters by the medical officer at the testing centre. The oximeter helps measure oxygen levels in blood so patients can request oxygen even before they have breathing difficulties.