The Centre on Friday said that COVID-19 patients developing severe illness will have to test negative once by RT-PCR test before being discharged by a hospital.
With the number of coronavirus cases in India increasing at an alarming rate, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have come up with a revised discharge policy for COVID-19 cases.
Until now, a patient was considered fit to be discharged if he or she tested negative on day 14 and then again in a span of 24 hours.
As per the new policy, COVID-19 patients with mild, very mild or pre-symptomatic cases need not undergo tests before being discharged after resolution of symptoms.
“Mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases admitted to a COVID care facility will undergo regular temperature and pulse oximetry monitoring,” the guidelines said.
“The patient can be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for three days. There will be no need for testing prior to discharge .At the time of discharge, the patient will be advised to follow home isolation for seven days,” it added.
The revised policy further said that patients admitted to COVID-19 health centres, whose symptoms resolve within three days and who maintain oxygen saturation above 95 per cent for the next four days, will be clinically classified as “moderate cases”.
“They will undergo monitoring of body temperature and oxygen saturation. If the fever resolves within three days and the patient maintains saturation above 95 per cent for the next four days, without oxygen support, they will be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset in case of – absence of fever without antipyretics, resolution of breathlessness and no oxygen requirement,” the guidelines said.
“There will be no need for testing prior to discharge. At the time of discharge, the patient will be advised to follow home isolation for seven days,” it added.
For patients on oxygen support, whose fever does not resolve within three days and demand of oxygen therapy continues, the health ministry has instructed hospitals to discharge such patients only after the resolution of clinical symptoms and ability to maintain oxygen saturation for three consecutive days, the guidelines said.
For severe coronavirus cases and those who are immunocompromised, the discharge criteria will be a single negative test and a clinical recovery.
Immunocompromised include those with HIV, transplant recipients and patients with malignancy.