Expert’s opinion during Covid 19 spike in Vizag


With Single-day spike of 5,041 Covid-19 positive cases, 56 deaths in Andhra Pradesh, many people are worried and confused about the safety measures and how practical are those to implement. How to go about testing, what if a neighbour tests positive and when a person should stay isolated at home and in what conditions — these are among the questions in everyone’s mind. Hello Vizag spoke to public health experts, doctors and government officials to try and find answers to some of the questions.

A person in my neighbourhood has tested positive for Covid-19. Do I need to take any precautions?
No additional safety measures are needed, say doctors. Wear a mask whenever you go out, maintain social distancing and wash your hands at regular intervals. Do not discriminate against the patient and his/her family said Dr. G Arjuna, Superintendent, King George Hospital.

If someone in an apartment building tests positive, what should residents of other flats in the building do?
The places the patient went to over the past three or four days must be sanitised. Common areas like the staircase (and its railings) and the elevator have to be sanitised. If allowed to stay at home, the patient and his/her family members must not step out of their apartment.

How is it decided whether a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 can stay at home?
If the patient is asymptomatic or has mild symptoms, he or she can stay at home but isolated from other family members. The doctor treating the person has to say in writing that he or she can stay isolated at home. Officials of the civic body and the health department will have to enquire about the person’s condition every day.

Also, the person has to give a declaration from a caregiver that she/he will deliver ration/cooked food/medicines to the family if required. The patient must not share a room or toilet with others in the family.

When should someone approach a doctor?
Whenever one is feeling uncomfortable or sensing something amiss. Fever or any other symptoms persisting for some time should be an alert. “Reach out early. Do not ignore any symptom or do not be in denial. Early diagnosis helps a patient get well sooner. Ignoring symptoms can worsen one’s condition,” said G. Srijana, GVMC Commissioner

What should one do from the time he/she is having symptoms?
Consider yourself to be Covid-19 positive and isolate yourself from others. If an infected person mingles with others, she/he may spread the virus.

Some say a person with mild symptoms need not get tested. Is that a prudent thing to do?
No, say doctors. The key strategy to combat the virus is testing, and tracking and isolating contacts.

How is the test done? Where do I go for a test?
A test can be done only after a doctor prescribes it. Any registered medical practitioner may prescribe a swab test. The samples are collected at a number of government and private hospitals and diagnostic laboratories. The state health department’s website has a list of such hospitals and laboratories said a doctor at Government TB and Chest Hospital

How long does it take for the report to come?
Usually 24 to 48 hours after the sample is drawn.

How does one get the test report because the family should be in quarantine if the person tested is positive for Covid-19?
Officials of the private laboratories said they called up and informed the person or the family about the outcome of the test. The report is sent via email or WhatsApp. But if the person tested does not have an email ID or WhatsApp on his or her phone, someone has to collect the report in person. Health department officials convey the outcome over the phone to those who have undergone the test at government hospitals.

What should one do till the report comes?
The person must isolate himself or herself in a room and not interact with others. This will help prevent the spread of the virus if he or she is infected. Also, others in the family must not share utensils with the person who has undergone the test.

How will people isolated or quarantined at home get their essentials?
While allowing patients home isolation or contacts home quarantine, the authorities want to know whether the person or the family has a caregiver. The caregiver can be someone who cooks in the house or delivers cooked food from outside. “If someone has a problem getting cooked food, he or she can call up the police, GVMC or the ward Volunteer. Something can be arranged,” said a GVMC official.

Is it safe for friends or neighbours to drop cooked food or ration at the doorstep of a family in home quarantine or a patient in home isolation?
Completely safe. Dr. BVN Rao, Consultant General Physician at Queen’s NRI Hospital, said a quarantined family or a mild/asymptomatic patient in home isolation would need help from neighbours for medicines and food. “Help your neighbour. Do not come in contact with them. Drop the grocery/food/medicines at the gate or door and inform them over the phone,” Rao said.

What are the basic precautions a family must take if a member tests positive?
Keep the person in a separate room. Others must not come in contact with him or her. Utensils, bed and linens used by the patient must not be used by others.

What is the protocol if a Covid positive person dies?
If the death of a Covid patient or suspect occurs at a hospital, the body should be sterilised and sealed as per the Covid protocol. “ln a red zone, if a death happens during course of shifting patient between hospitals or patients approaching hospitals for any kind of treatment or if the case is brought dead which includes manner of deaths such as accidents, suicide, homicide, undetermined etc., then a swab has to be collected for TrueNat test and the body is to be sterilised and sealed and disposed of without waiting for test results according to Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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