Covid-19 Home Isolation: What Are The Guidelines For Patients And Caregivers?

Health Secretary Luv Agarwal cautioned against unnecessary testing and said that people should only get tested after self-monitoring their symptoms.

Covid-19 Home Isolation: What Are The Guidelines For Patients And Caregivers?

With cases of Covid-19 surging across the nation amid what is being deemed the third wave driven by the Omicron variant, the government has issued a fresh bunch of rules and guidelines to help Indians fare safely through the wave. 

When to test for Covid-19?

Health Secretary Luv Agarwal cautioned against unnecessary testing.  In a Twitter QnA session held on Monday, Agarwal said that a person need not get tested for Covid-19 in case they feel mild symptoms. He said that the incubation period of the virus is 14 days. In case a person notes that they have symptoms and that they are a high-risk contact, they have been based to self-isolate and self monitor themselves. In case they show symptoms, they should then get tested. 

Why the seven-day rule?

According to the discharge guidelines, post seven days, a person who tested positive with Covid-19 may still be shedding the virus. But after seven days when a person has no fever for three consecutive days, are not at an infective stage anymore. Meaning they are not at the stage to spread the infection further. 

What to do if you test positive for Covid-19?

In a case a person tests positive for the covid report comes positive, thwy should quarantine at home for the next seven days. If the fever does not come for three consecutive days after seven days, they can go out of home. If symptoms are exacerbated, seek medical help immediately. Telemedicine tools like e-Sanjeevani are also available for guidance on the disease and medication needs of home isolation patients and caregivers.

Guidelines for home isolating Covid-19 patients

Patients need to keep their rooms clean and disinfected, ensure they eat clean and healthy meals and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. Self-monitoring of blood oxygen levels is adviced.

What are the rules for caregivers?

Caregivers or people who are taking care of a Covid-19 patient including family members must also follow certain precautions for their own and others' safety.

All caregivers must be fully vaccinated and maintain the required precautions. These include wearing mask at all times when inside the house with a Covid-19 patient. But the health secretary recommended the use of only triple-layer or N-95 masks when handling Covid-19 patients.

If their symptoms are mild or asymptomatic case, caregivers should remain in separate rooms, isolate themselves, and wear a triple layer mask. They have also been recommended to avoid any direct contact with the patient's body fluids like respiratory fluids. Wearing disposable gloves, avoiding direct contact with personal items of the patient such as towels, utensils etc can go a long way in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

How to properly dispose of used masks

Masks must be discarded after being worn for eight hours or if they are wet. Properly discarding the masks is also important. The right way to dispose of a mask that might have come in contact with the virus is to cut up the used mask into pieces, put them in a paper bag for over 72 hours and then dispose of them after that. This allows time for the virus to die off from the surface of the mask, ensuring it will not spread further.