When can a COVID patient discontinue home isolation?


Medical experts recommend COVID-19 positive patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms to stay in isolation at home. But how long is it necessary to isolate oneself? Does one continue to be in home isolation even after all symptoms have subsided?

In a revised set of guidelines, the Health Ministry recommended that a COVID patient can discontinue home isolation “after at least 10 days have passed from the onset of symptoms or from the date of sampling of asymptomatic cases” and there is “no fever for three days”.

The Health Ministry also said that one need not undergo a COVID test after the home isolation period is over.

However, it is recommended that the patient consults a doctor to ensure he or she follows home isolation correctly. “It suggested that the home isolation be observed/followed in consultation with the doctor. This will help safe and easy recovery for the patient and help assess the risk factors during the recovery phase,” Dr Nikhil Modi, senior consultant, respiratory and pulmonary care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, told indianexpress.com.

While in home isolation, a patient should take COVID-appropriate measures, as per the guidelines of the Health Ministry:

*Patient must isolate himself from other household members, stay in the identified room and away from other people at home, especially elderlies and those with co-morbid conditions like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, renal disease etc.

*The patient should be kept in a well-ventilated room with cross ventilation and windows should be kept open to allow fresh air to come in.

*Patient should at all times use a triple-layer medical mask. Discard the mask after eight hours of use or earlier if they become wet or visibly soiled. In the event of the caregiver entering the room, both caregiver and patient may consider using N 95 mask.

*Mask should be discarded only after disinfecting it with 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite.

*Patient must take rest and drink a lot of fluids to maintain adequate hydration.

*Follow respiratory etiquette all the time.

*Don’t share personal items with other people.

*Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 40 seconds or clean with alcohol-based sanitiser.

*Ensure cleaning of surfaces in the room that are touched often (tabletops, doorknobs, handles, etc.) with 1% hypochlorite solution.

*Self-monitoring of blood oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter is strongly advised.

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