COVID-19: Health Ministry announces mild and moderate not need to be tested prior to discharge

Health workers collect swab sample from a person for Covid-19 testing in Kolkata (PTI photo)

NEW DELHI: In a move that is likely to reduce India’s need for Covid-19 testing kits, the health ministry has said that mild and moderate cases do not need to be tested prior to the discharge of patients from hospital.
So far, patients had to test negative twice prior to discharge. The new directive is part of the revised policy for discharge of Covid-19 patients from hospitals.
Even for severe cases, the patient would need to test negative only once, as against twice earlier.
“Mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases admitted to a Covid care facility will undergo regular temperature and pulse oximetry monitoring. The patient can be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for 3 days. There will be no need for testing prior to discharge. At the time of discharge, the patient will be advised to follow the home isolation for further 7 days as per guidelines,” the revised discharge policy said.
Till Saturday morning, 15.23 lakh samples were tested for Covid-19. According to the health ministry, the capacity has been ramped up to test around 95,000 samples per day across 332 government and 121 private labs.
However, positive cases also continue to rise across the country. In the last 24 hours, 3,320 new confirmed cases have been added taking the total number of cases to 59,662.
The policy also says that at any point of time, prior to discharge from Covid care centre, if the oxygen saturation dips below 95%, patient has to be moved to Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) with ICU facility.
After discharge from the facility, if the patient again develops symptoms of fever, cough or breathing difficulty, he/she will contact the Covid care centre or state helpline or 1075. His/her health will again be followed up through tele-conference on the 14th day, it says.
Moderate cases have been categorised as those whose symptoms resolve within three days and maintains oxygen saturation above 95% for the next 4 days. “If the fever resolve within 3 days and the patient maintains saturation above 95% for the next 4 days (without oxygen support), such patient will be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset in case of absence of fever without anti-pyretics, resolution of breathlessness, no oxygen requirement. There will be no need for testing prior to discharge,” says the policy.