Health officials yesterday stressed that all COVID-19 patients, even those who show no symptoms, have to be admitted to a hospital or a designated COVID19 treatment centre and cannot be isolated at home, stating that there were over 2,000 beds available for treatment even at this moment.
Deputy Director General of Health, Dr. Hemantha Herath told the Daily Mirror that with Colombo continuing to report a large number of patients, no patient would be allowed to seek treatment or isolate at home and they had to be transported to a treatment centre.
“We have a large number of patients coming in but we still have about 2,000 odd beds available. We need to make sure that all people who test positive need to be isolated as quickly as possible as it is extremely difficult to isolate people at home,” Dr. Herath said.
Health authorities are not looking to change this policy anytime soon due to the availability of space at hospitals and centres as over 1,000 patients get discharged per day.according to new guidelines,positive COVID-19 patients are now discharged on the 10th day of treatment with advice to isolate a further 4 days at home. Due to this policy, Sri Lanka presently faces a high patient discharge rate, making availability for new patients to be admitted.
Dr. Herath said if complete asymptomatic patients are allowed to be quarantined at home, this will have a big impact on the level of transmission of the virus.
“If we change this policy at this moment there will be a great impact on the transmission of the disease at community level as there will be more and more cases reported as a result of keeping these patients at home,” he said.
Presently those who test positive for COVID-19 are requested to immediately contact the MOH or their area PHI who will transport them to the hospital or COVID-19 treatment centre within that day.
Till the officials arrive, the patient is advised to isolate inside a room and avoid having contact with any family member. All family members will also be subjected to a PCR test.
The labs which will be testing the samples, will also inform the Epid Unit who in turn will contact the MOH and provide details of the patient immediately so that they will be transported to a hospital rather than remain at home. (JAMILA HUSAIN)