Mild COVID-19 cases not to be referred to hospitals in Kerala

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state has once again changed its strategy of treating Covid-19 patients. The new plan being the decision to admit asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms to COVIDFirst-Line Treatment Centres (CFLTC) and not to the dedicated COVIDHospitals (CH).

According to the health department, this shall be implemented with retrospective effect (that means those who are asymptomatic and with mild symptoms admitted to CHs will be referred back to CFLTCs).

The decision was taken in the wake of the spike in COVIDpositive cases and deaths. As many as 29 CFLTCs in the state, included in the list  released by the health department ,have been linked to 29 CHs and together they have a bed strength of 2,705.

“Expert care should be given to those with comorbidities. Of the 19 COVIDdeaths, all patients, except one, had comorbidities. A change in strategy is needed as there are projections that the death rate will show an upward trend. Hence, it was decided to shift asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms to CFLTCs,” said a health department official.

An advisory prepared in this regard by health principal secretary Rajan Khobragade stated that all CFLTCs in a district will be linked to the designated CH in the district.

Also, the doctors and paramedical staff at the CHs should act as a ‘hub’ for providing technical guidance to the team at CFLTCs.

“A team of doctors and paramedical staff (preferably two from internal medicine and two from paediatrics) are present in all CHs. Their service shall be made available round the clock. They should provide necessary assistance to CFLTCs upon demand,” reads an excerpt of the advisory.

Clinical condition of patients to be assessed twice daily
Considering medical emergencies like silent hypoxia (a condition in which a person’s oxygen level in blood cells and tissues drop without any warning signs) among COVIDpatients, it has been stipulated that the clinical condition of all patients should be assessed preferably twice daily at the CFLTC as well.

“Silent hypoxia had already claimed many lives at the national level. Thus, it has been directed to perform pulse oximetry at least twice a day on all patients admitted to CFLTCs. In case of any emergencies, the patient will be immediately referred to the linked CH. Also, the doctor at the CFLTC will make a list of patients who require specialist consultation and the same will be arranged through the linked CH,” added the officer.

Earlier, it was decided that each CFLTC would be ensured the service of eight doctors in rotation, 12 staff nurses, three pharmacists, 10 cleaning staff, six healthcare volunteers and three securities.

COVIDhosps linked to CFLTCs

As many as 29 CFLTCs in the state, included in the list  released by the health department, have been linked to 29 CHs and together they have a bed strength of 2,705.

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