Home isolation in the 'Leikais'
Considering the number of tests done daily, the positivity rate is quite high. That is exactly why, the Imphal Free Press had earlier talked about starting sero-surveillance in the state. But, the more important question now is how many families have the facilities as laid down in the guidelines for home isolation in the state.
he introduction of home isolation SOPs for Covid 19 positive who are asymptomatic or those having mild symptoms has certainly created a flutter among the general population in the Leikais, even sometimes creating hostility towards the families who are permitting Covid positive family members to stay in home isolation. The local clubs could be made to understand the difficulties of housing all positive persons in Covid Care Centres opened by the authorities, but it is very difficult to convince many at the individual level. It is said that the idea of home isolation was developed in view of large number of asymptomatic cases being detected and that the government has extended the current guidelines with regard to asymptomatic positive cases also besides very mild and pre-symptomatic cases. However, the lack of adequate facilities or required manpower to man the Covid Care Centres seems to be the main consideration for advising home isolation by health authorities.
Who is eligible for home isolation?
According to the guidelines, the person should be clinically assigned as a very mild or pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic case by the treating medical officer. Such cases should have the requisite facility at their residence for self-isolation and also for quarantining the family contacts. Patients suffering from immune compromised status (HIV, Transplant recipients, Cancer therapy etc) are not eligible for home isolation. Elderly patients aged more than 60 years and those with co-morbid conditions such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart disease, chronic lung/liver/ kidney disease, cerebro-vascular disease etc shall only be allowed home isolation after proper evaluation by the treating medical officer. A care giver should be available to provide care on 24 x7 basis. The guidelines adds that a communication link between the caregiver and hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation.
Altogether, out of the cumulative number of 17,424 positive cases in the state 1,491 persons were advised home isolation of which 550 are still active cases. As many as 13,057 persons have recovered while 4,223 are still active besides 144 deaths. On the other hand, the daily surge of positive cases ranges from 150 to 300 plus as against the average number of 2000 tests daily.
Considering the number of tests done daily, the positivity rate is quite high. That is exactly why, we had earlier talked about starting sero-surveillance in the state. But, the more important question now is how many families have the facilities as laid down in the guidelines for home isolation in the state. Except for some upper-rich and rich families in the urban areas, separate toilet facilities for each member of the family is very rare. In most poor and middle class families, common toilet is a feature in many homes. So, the very idea of home isolation is urban centric and also caters to the rich who can afford separate toilets. And, the idea of home isolation is defeated here. This has been the main concern of general public in authorities advising home isolation to Covid positive persons in the Leikais. Hence, the hostility from many individuals. Some may try to explain it away as lack of awareness among the public with regard to knowledge of Covid 19. But, no one can dare claim to have full understanding of how Covid 19 moves around in the society and the general population till now.