In the last ten days, there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of those home-quarantined and a whopping 54 per cent rise in cases of institutional quarantine.
Medical experts have cited the new discharge policy as being the reason for this. Under the new policy, asymptomatic patients are also being asked to isolate at home and this could be the reason for the rising numbers.
As per the data of the state health department, 2,44,324 people had been home-quarantined until May 10 and in just 10 days, this number had increased to 4,04,692 as on date, across the state. Similarly, 14,465 were kept in institutional quarantine, which surged to 26, 752 in the same period. “We are currently following the new discharge policy issued by the ICMR, due to which there has been a 60 per event and 54 per cent rise in home and institutional quarantines respectively. This helps us hospitalise those in most need, while the rest, including the asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic are being home- or institutionally quarantined,” said Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer.
According to the new discharge policy, mildly or very mildly symptomatic and the asymptomatic can be discharged from hospitals after 10 days, if they are without fever for three consecutive days. A patient is advised to remain in isolation at home for seven days after being discharged from a hospital.
“Maharashtra has 51 and 16 per cent of patients who are asymptomatic or very mildly and mildly symptomatic respectively,” said Dr Sanjay Mukerjee, secretary, Medical Education and Drugs Department.
Dr Vikrant Shah, infectious diseases expert, said there has been a rise in the number of those home and institutionally quarantined due to the changed policy. Moreover, there are not enough beds in civic and state hospitals where patients can be admitted. “Nearly 15 per cent of patients need to be hospitalised and as a result, other patients, who have moderate or mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, are asked to home-quarantine,” he said. “If they are home-quarantined, it helps them to get well soon and reduces the duration of illness,” added Dr Shah.
Meanwhile, BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal has told his officials to carry out rigorous contact tracing with a target ratio of 1:10. For every Covid patient, he has said at least ten high and low-risk contacts should be identified and quarantined, particularly in slums.