As many as 35% of respondents of a survey on household preparedness for COVID-19 are of the view that patients should be hospitalised at the onset of the first symptom.
This is in contrast to the stipulation of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the clinical guidance for management of adult COVID-19 patients wherein it has been stated that an oxygen concentration of less than or equal to 93% on room air requires hospital admission, a fact known only to 11% of the respondents of the survey.
Conducted by Sambodhi Panels, an initiative of Sambodhi Research and Communications, a multi-disciplinary organisation based in Noida, the survey covered Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Gujarat. Two-thirds of the respondents were below poverty line (BPL), and 49% were from Other Backward Classes (OBC). Men accounted for 76% of the respondents.
Dealing with a host of issues, the survey, carried out among 7,116 persons in 10 States during June 30-July 11, discussed the level of awareness on the stage of hospitalisation. Of the respondents, 18% said hospitalisation should be done when patients tested positive; 14% said hospitalisation should be done when patients developed high fever; and 13% said hospitalisation should be done when patients had breathlessness.
The survey concluded that such a low level of awareness would have implications for the overcrowding of hospitals, with a consequent burden on healthcare institutions and workers.
The survey also revealed that people were largely uninformed about recent variants of the novel coronavirus and the associated symptoms such as diarrhoea, skin rashes, and conjunctivitis. Only 18% of the respondents associated diarrhoea with the virus.
As for the possession of medical equipment, the survey found that 92% of the respondents had face masks; 80% had sanitisers; and 46% possessed over the counter drugs. But, only 22% had thermometers; only 11% had oximeters; and only 4% had oxygen cylinders.
As for the findings of the survey concerning Tamil Nadu, 98% of the respondents were aware of the presence of nearby COVID-19 hospitals against the national average of 88%. Likewise, 57% of the people in the State knew that a quarantine period of 15-21 days was required against 20% at the all-India level, and 76% of the respondents felt that at the onset of the first symptom, patients had to be hospitalised.