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New guidelines for hospitals

Kerela: The State government has issued new guidelines for hospitals in the context of the circulation of the Omicron virus variant.

Accordingly, patients coming to outpatient clinics or the casualty/emergency wing or getting admitted as inpatients need be put through COVID-19 test only if they have related symptoms or if the treating doctor feels that COVID test would have a bearing on further treatment. The OP clinics and emergency wings should have only one entry point.

If patients admitted to a hospital test positive for COVID, they should be treated in a separate COVID ward within the specialty concerned. Thus, each medical specialty should set aside their beds for treating their patients who become COVID positive. Only if the patients take a turn for the worse, they may he be admitted to the COVID ICU.

Health-care workers should use N 95 mask, face shield and surgical gown and they should use PPE kit only when treating severe patients.

ICU occupancy
Meanwhile, Health Minister said here on Tuesday that the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the State had been slowing down. If new cases progressively increased by 45% in the first week of January to 148% and 215% in the subsequent weeks, the rate of increase dropped to 71% in the fourth week. In the last seven days, the rate of increase was only 16%, she said

Even when testing had gone up, cases had not increased proportionately. ICU occupancy of both COVID and non-COVID cases in the State is around 42.47% and 84% ventilators were also free, she said

International travellers on a short trip of less than seven days to the State will be exempted from quarantine even though they will have to comply with all testing norms set by the Centre. They can stay at homes or in hotels of their choice. They will have to follow all COVID protocols and should leave the State within the stipulated seven-day period. If they test positive, they will have to inform the Health department and seek medical care.

Ms. George said action would be taken against hospitals which denied COVID care to patients despite having facilities for the same. Private hospitals should not deny dialysis services to their regular patients if one of them tested positive for COVID.

Budget ‘disappointing’
Ms. George said the Union Budget was a disappointment as far as the health sector was concerned and that the allocation for the current year, when the country was going through the third wave of COVID, was even less than previous year’s allocation.

She added that the State hoped that its long-standing demand for an All India Institute of Medical Sciences-like institution would be considered favourably. The Hindu

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