Tamil Nadu

Government announces new treatment protocol for COVID-19 patients

The Health Department has announced revised protocol to treat COVID-19 patients in health facilities other than medical college hospitals, government hospitals and dedicated COVID-19 hospitals.

According to a Government Order issued on Monday, COVID-19 (suspect and confirmed) patients need treatment at the earliest accessible health facility. Those eligible for home isolation and treatment at primary care facilities were reaching higher facilities due to lack of awareness and panic. This was a drain on the resources.

An Expert Committee has recommended guidelines for managing patients with COVID-19 symptoms at all health facilities other than medical college hospitals, government hospitals and dedicated COVID-19 hospitals. It has made it clear that patients with an oxygen saturation level of more than 96 should not be admitted in hospitals.

R. Narayana Babu, Director of Medical Education, said the protocol was meant to initiate treatment in the initial stages to prevent disease progression and lung involvement. Through this, hospital admissions could be brought under control, he said.

“If a patient comes to a testing centre or primary health facility as soon as they experience symptoms, his/her oxygen saturation levels will be checked. Treatment will be started as per his/her health status. Sometimes, by the time a patient comes after getting the test report, it is a full-blown disease. We want to prevent lung involvement in patients,” he said.

Accordingly, treatment can be done at primary health centres and COVID-19 Care Centres.

For instance, at a testing centre, screening/triaging centre, health facilities and outreach camps, patients would be assessed on these criteria — irrespective of vaccination status, positive or negative or not tested for COVID-19, symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, such as fatigability, myalgia, sore throat, breathlessness, continuous fever, headache, diarrhoea, cough, loss of taste and smell, oxygen saturation level of more than 96 and single breath count of more than 20 and respiratory rate of less than 18/minute. The case management, included prescription of medication, adequate hydration, prone position and seeking of hospital care/admission, if red flag signs appear.

The red flag signs, included persistent fever, persistent cough, breathlessness and fatigability. For oxygen saturation of 90-94% or respiratory rate of 24-30, they should seek care at primary health centre/screening centre for getting assessed by doctors. For oxygen saturation of less than 90% and respiratory rate of more than 24, they should approach COVID-19 hospital/government hospitals/medical college hospitals for oxygen supplement.

The protocol has outlined the discharge criteria — patients having oxygen saturation of more than 92% in room air for three days in medical college/district headquarters hospital/dedicated COVID-19 hospital, COVID-19 health centres with oxygen beds and COVID-19 Care Centres.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 6:20:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/government-announces-new-treatment-protocol-for-covid-19-patients/article34531066.ece

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