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SATURDAY, October 01, 2022
Home treatment piloted for mild Covid cases as infections threaten to overwhelm hospitals

Home treatment piloted for mild Covid cases as infections threaten to overwhelm hospitals

WEDNESDAY, July 07, 2021

The Public Health Ministry is piloting home and community treatment for Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms (green category), as surging cases threaten to overwhelm hospital bed capacity.

Bed occupancy has risen by 10,000 within one month and ICU units are treating 400 critically ill Covid-19 patients, leading to a shortage of beds and healthcare personnel, Medical Services Department director Dr Somsak Ankasil said on Wednesday.

In response, the department has prepared guidelines for a home-isolation care scheme.

The scheme is being piloted by Bangkok’s Rajavithi Hospital, where 18 Covid-19 patients have consented to home treatment consisting of temperature and lung-oxygen checks, with lung X-rays where necessary. Of these, only two patients have had to return to the hospital for treatment.

In total, almost 100 patients are taking part in the embryonic home isolation scheme.

Patients are registered with hospitals directly, so no legal problems are foreseen. However, this may not be the case with the planned community isolation scheme. The Department of Disease Control will propose the community isolation scheme at the next meeting of the National Communicable Disease Control Committee on July 12.

The proportion of mild, moderate and severe Covid cases (coded green, yellow and red) remains 80:15:5, said Dr Nittaya Panupak, head of the Institute of HIV Research and Innovation, on Wednesday. However, the soaring number of cases has created a shortage of hospital beds. Therefore, green-coded patients must be treated differently to ensure sufficient beds for yellow and red patients, she said.

Home isolation and community isolation systems have to be created with support from the Medical Services Department and National Health Security Office (NHSO) to help reduce mortality and infection rates, added Nittaya.