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Kerala will now discharge patients without tests to make space in hospitals

The Pinarayi government ordered that due to shortage of beds, patients will be discharged after a particular amount of time even if they are infected. Kerala is India’s second most affected state.

With the increasing number of patients in the second wave of COVID threatening to breach the health system’s surge capacity, the State government has taken a long-pending decision to discharge COVID-19 patients from hospitals without insisting that they test negative in a rapid antigen test.

Earlier, in the initial days of COVID, a patient could be discharged from hospital only after he tested negative in two consecutive RT-PCR tests between a fixed interval.

What prompted the government to water down its strict discharge norm is the increasing number of active cases in hospital care. As per the new discharge policy, patients in the mild and moderate categories can be discharged soon, making the hospital facility available for an increasing number of patients in the critical category.

As on April 26, the state has 2.18 lakh active cases, of which 19,565 patients are in hospitals. Of them, 1312 are in ICU and 419 are on ventilator support. On April 7, the state had only 4,725 in hospitals or Covid-19 treatment centers. Then, only 533 patients were in ICU with 137 on ventilators.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revised its guidelines that patients with mild/moderate disease could be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset if there was no fever for three days, without a COVID test but Kerala goverment has converted it into 2-3 days which would rather create a problem.

A person who is still infected with virus will be allowed to leave for home isolation, where it will rather infect more people in the public than the restricted environment of Hospital.

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