Udayavni Special

Treat all patients as suspect COVID-19 case: Govt to hospitals near containment zones

PTI, Apr 23, 2020, 8:14 AM IST

New Delhi: The Union health ministry in an advisory has suggested hospitals located in and around COVID-19 containment zones to treat all patients coming to them as suspected cases of coronavirus infection until proven otherwise and exercise standard care.

According to a ministry official, patients coming from containment areas should be tested for infection even if they show any symptoms of COVID-19.

A COVID-19 case with the mild or asymptomatic presentation may go undetected and inadvertently transmit the infection to other patients and healthcare workers, putting these individuals at risk of contracting the disease and compromise the functionality of the healthcare facility, the ministry said while issuing guidelines to be followed on detection of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case in a non-COVID health facility.

There have been some instances of hospitals having closed down as few health care workers (HCW) working there turned out to be positive for coronavirus infection.

Also, some non-COVID health facilities have reported confirmation of COVID-19 in patients admitted for unrelated or non-respiratory illness, causing undue apprehension among healthcare workers, sometimes leading to impaired function of such hospitals, the ministry said.

Underlining that although comprehensive guidance to prevent the occurrence of hospital-acquired infection in health facilities was issued, “the practice of universal precautions might still be lacking in many of our hospitals”, the ministry noted.

“As a matter of abundant precautions for hospitals located in proximity/catering to COVID-19 containment zones it might be desirable to treat all patients as suspect COVID-19 case until proven otherwise and exercise standard care,” the ministry stated.

It stated that all infection prevention control guidelines should be strictly adhered to and followed at all times.

According to the guidelines, all close contacts (other HCWs and supportive staff) of the confirmed case should be put on Hydroxychloroquine chemoprophylaxis for a period of 7 weeks, keeping in mind the contraindications of the drug.

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