Coronavirus patients isolating at home in Karnataka will be considered discharged 10 days after their last positive test (and three without a fever), according to revised guidelines issued by the state government Monday.
A further seven days of isolation and monitoring is advised, although no testing is needed in this period unless the patient displays Covid-related symptoms.
With hospital beds in high demand due to a surge in Covid cases, the BS Yediyurappa government has continued to encourage home isolation for those who test positive but are either asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms.
The revised guidelines for home isolation are in line with those issued by the centre, the state government's circular said.
Among the changes is the use of the term "home care" instead of "home isolation", in an attempt to reduce social stigma that still surrounds those who test positive and opt to isolate at home.
Patients over 60 and those with co-morbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic lung, liver and kidney disease, can also opt for home care, providing the clinical assessment meets requirements.
Earlier guidelines said pregnant women expected to deliver within four weeks could not opt for home care. This has now been modified to two weeks.
Home care will continue to be allowed only if the residence is considered suitable; a team of health officials from either the district authority or an authorised private agency will visit the home to carry out this assessment.
An assessment of the patient is also required before home care is allowed. This can be done telephonically. During the period of home care, a 24x7 caregiver is required, as is regular communication between the caregiver and a hospital.
Used face masks, gloves and toiletries, as well as swabs contaminated with the patient's blood or body fluids should be treated as biomedical waste and collected in separate yellow bag.
These should be handed over to authorised waste collectors or deposited at designated centres.
Masks and gloves used by caregivers and other family members shall be kept in a paper bag for a minimum of 72 hours prior to its disposal, after cutting the same to prevent reuse, as general waste, the circular added.
Karnataka has seen a massive spike in COVID-19 cases - the number has now crossed 1.82 lakh. There are almost 80,000 active cases in the state, creating pressure on existing medical infrastructure, particularly in state capital Bengaluru, where over 75,000 cases have been recorded so far.
With input from PTI