KATHMANDU, AUGUST 31
Cases of asymptomatic COVID patients staying in home isolation suddenly becoming ill and succumbing to the contagion have come to light, prompting the need to spread awareness about precautions patients staying in home isolation must take.
Santa Kumar Das, who is COVID-19 Management Committee Coordinator at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, told THT that people staying in home isolation should frequently check their oxygen level and should be rushed to hospital when their oxygen saturation drops below 90 per cent. “Often people staying in home isolation have no symptom of the disease, but they do not know that their oxygen level has dropped, which becomes fatal,” Das said.
He said even asymptomatic patients staying in home isolation should be rushed to hospital when their oxygen level drops to abnormally low point or when they experience other severe symptoms. Das added that patients staying in home isolation should keep a pulse oximeter, which measures oxygen level, at home. It costs Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000.
According to Das, health authorities should monitor the health of COV- ID-19 patients who are staying in home isolation at least twice a day and should inform patients what they should or should not do while staying in home isolation.
“Leaflets and other information disseminated to the public about COV- ID-19 may not be enough and therefore, there is a need for constant monitoring of patients staying in home isolation. The government should form mobile teams of health professionals who could visit COVID patients in their homes,” he added.
Das also said that government authorities needed to tell patients staying in home isolation which hospitals they should visit. “COVID patients should be told in advance where they will be treated. When COVID patients develop symptoms or need medical care, they should not be wasting time looking for the hospital that will admit them,” he said.
Director of Patan Hospital Rabi Shakya said, “COVID patients staying in home isolation should be rushed to a hospital even if they experience slight deterioration in their health.”
Assistant Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population Samir Kumar Adhikari accused local authorities of inadequate monitoring of patients staying in home isolation.
“Local governments should increase their monitoring of patient staying in home isolation,” he said.
Regarding a patient from Bhaktapur who died yesterday while staying at home, Adhikari said he was kept at home at the insistence of his family who told health authorities that the patient was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and family members could take better care of the patient.
“Home isolation is a good option for asymptomatic cases as staying close to family can keep their morale high,”
Adhikari said, adding that it would not be possible to put all asymptomatic patients in hospitals.