New Delhi: India is spiraling under the second wave of deadly coronavirus. The nation is experiencing the world's worst COVID-19 outbreak, with over 4 lakh new cases every day.
The country’s healthcare system is under strain, which is why most of the COVID-19 positive patients are advised to recover under home quarantine.
Those individuals who exhibit mild and moderate symptoms of COVID-19 are generally kept under home quarantine and having a self-isolation facility and caregiver support is crucial for any individual’s good recovery. But the most common question is:
When is it the right time for an individual to end self-isolation or quarantine?
The duration of self-isolation or quarantine depends upon the nature of symptoms, but most individuals are advised to stay under isolation for a minimum of 14 days.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study revealed that for most adults with COVID-19 illness, isolation and precautions can be discontinued 10 days after symptom onset and after resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms, where as for other adults with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days that may warrant extending duration of isolation and precautions for up to 20 days after symptom onset.
Additionally, the individuals are advised to stay in touch with their physicians who can further guide them and help the patients in making the right choice.
What do experts believe to be the right time for an individual to end self-isolation?
AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria in a press meet had also shared his expert advice on the issue. He had said, “getting two negative RT-PCR reports (spaced 24 hours apart) can also act as a sign that a person has recovered from coronavirus and can end home quarantine. However, considering the surge in cases and high testing demands faced by diagnostic laboratories right now, a person is no longer required to get retested for COVID if the stipulated isolation period has passed.”
Dr Guleria further added that an RT-PCR test can still come back positive, after 14 days self-isolation, if it picks up viral debris.
Will an individual still be a risk for others after the self-isolation ends?
Even though the viral loads in COVID-19 positive patient’s body reduces after completion of quarantine, which means that the individual will no longer transmit the virus to others, many experts suggest that the patient should continue self-isolation for seven more days, practice good hygiene as additional prevention measures.
But this doesn’t mean that the patient can not be around people after completing their quarantine period. After the defined self-isolation, the patient can meet other people, nut with proper implementation of COVID-19 protocols like wearing a face mask and keep 6 feet distance.
What protocols should one follow if they are the caregiver for a COVID-19 positive patient?
The caregivers of every COVID-19 positive patient should also follow all the protocols diligently. They should also practice self-isolation along with the patient, should wear face masks all the time and keep a safe distance. Caregivers should also ensure that there's proper hygiene being followed.