Hyderabad: Those with mild symptoms for Covid-19 will not be admitted to Gandhi Hospital, where Covid cases are taken at present, and only the critically and seriously ill will be admitted as cases increase in the next 14 days. With not enough beds, the seriously ill must get priority.
This decision was taken by senior government doctors who are expecting a surge in cases as unlocking is leading to faster spread of the coronavirus.
Mild symptoms are categorised as fever, cough, cold, diarrhoea, and vomiting, for which normal medicines have helped recovery. If the fever goes down after three to five days that means the viral load is reducing and the patient is on the way to recovery.
Government doctors say that those with mild symptoms should be isolated at home. The term ‘home isolation’ means that the patient has to be in a separate room with bathroom and no other person from the family must stay in the same room. Food and water for the patient should be kept at the room door. The patient and all family members must wear masks at home for all the 14 days of isolation. They have to strictly follow the protocol of sanitisation and social distance.
A senior government doctor explained, “Those who do not have a separate room will be kept in Nature Cure Hospital, Gachibowli centre and other places that have been identified by government. Those who want to go to private hospitals can also go there.”
Private hospitals are taking all patients whether mild or critical. But their intensive care units and isolation units designated for Covid-19 patients are already full.
A senior doctor of a private hospital said home based isolation treatment is offered for those who have a separate room at home. “We are opting for video-conference with the patient. The numbers are very few but we have started so that the option can be available as cases rise in the next few weeks.”
A separate team of paramedical staff is also being readied along with a team to provide home based treatment. Due to the stigma attached to the disease, this is only a stand-by system created by private hospitals.
With 10 per cent of Covid-19 patients having co-morbid conditions of uncontrolled diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, cancer, respiratory illness, auto-immune diseases and others, the incidence of hypoxia, that is, less oxygen levels in the blood, is bound to increase.
Dr K K Aggarwal, past president of the Indian Medical Association explains that “after fever, silent hypoxia occurs, where the person looks absolutely fine but is actually having much less oxygen in the blood. For this reason, in fevers we are now checking oxygen levels with pulse oximeter and if the oxygen level is less than 90, then it means that there is need for oxygen in the body. This development gives a window period of 5 to 12 hours. A ventilator is not the answer as these patients require oxygen.”
In Hyderabad, people have walked into private hospitals with readings of 80 on the pulse oximeter and were given oxygen and are recovering.
With more patients expected, doctors must find ways to access oxygen and be prepared to administer it to patients who need it. This will go a long way in avoiding complications and mortality.
A senior doctor, who did not want to be named, pointed out: “Those who die in the hospital will be counted as dead, but what about those who die at home? And how many from the villages will be able to make it to healthcare centres? The exact numbers will not be known, only the rising incidence will be recorded.”