New Delhi: As novel coronavirus disease cases continue to rise in India, home isolation has turned out to be an effective way of isolating and quaranting people with mild symptoms without straining the hospitals and quaranting facilities which can then focus on serious patients. In the national capital, according to the Delhi government data, a total number of home isolation cases of COVID-19 on September 5 stood at 10,514. The corresponding figure a day before was 9,822, according to the Delhi health department. On August 21, the home isolation cases count was 5,818, so from that date, so the rise in home isolation cases has seen a rise of 80 per cent in 16 days. Moreover, till August 23, around 77,000 patients had defeated the highly contagious virus from their home. A COVID positive patient who has now recovered speaks with NDTV to highlight how he along with his family fought the disease from home and shares his experience on home isolation.
I was tested positive for coronavirus on August 17 along with my mother and just like most of us, I was petrified and kept thinking why us, said 23-year-old Divesh from Delhi’s Nehru Place who is a hotel-management student.
Coronavirus Testing: What’s The Process
Explaining the initial process of why he went for the test and how he was under home isolation and not in the institute facility, Divesh said,
So, my mother had developed fever and as a precautionary measure, we decided to take a test. My father didn’t come in contact with her initially so first it was just me and my mother who went for the test. Every area of Delhi has test centres located, I went to the one which was near my house, it was a government school in Govindpuri near Nehru Place. There we took the token for the test and in about 30 minutes our number came, we went through Rapid Antigen test, wherein a swab was taken using a swab from our nostrils. The rapid antigen test results come immediately, in about 10 minutes time, we were informed that both of us are coronavirus positive with coronavirus. We were immediately separated from the people who were there just like us for the test and were made to sit in an isolated room. There the doctors checked our oxygen levels and asked us about our symptoms, I was asymptomatic and had no symptoms but my mother was symptomatic. As our oxygen levels were fine and we didn’t have any co-morbidities like diabetes, sugar etc, the doctors asked if we would like to go for home isolation and enquired if we have anyone else at home. They even told us that we need to get our father tested for the virus since we are now positive. His result came to be negative initially. The doctors at the centre introduced us to the new normal routine we all had to follow for next 17 to 18 days.
Stressing on the things one should follow during home isolation after being diagnosed with COVID-19, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO) and Medtalks, Heart Care Foundation of India adds,
COVID-19 is a viral disease with flu-like symptoms and may have life-threatening complications, sometimes. People who are especially immunocompromised, are at an increased risk of mortality from this virus. The one advice which I will give to everyone out there who are under home isolation – make sure you are following three golden rules to fight this disease, firstly, stay inside one room, don’t roam around, secondly, make sure you are maintaining a good hygiene – make sure you are self cleaning your room, bedsheets, clothes, utensils and everything around you with a sanitiser. If possible, wear gloves when you touch anything for the 18 days when you are coronavirus positive. Thirdly, make sure whatever you touch or use doesn’t come in contact with anyone or is disposed off in dustbins carelessly. Lastly, the patient under home isolation should be in constant touch with the district or surveillance officer and the hospital, so that if emergency arises, he/she can get proper care. We have seen, we give a long to do prescription to the patients but they don’t follow as it is. Without any second doubts, patients under home isolation should follow the prescription or to do list given by the healthcare official as it is because if they don’t then there will be a higher price to pay.
So, Divesh along with his 55-year-old mother started home isolation from the very same day. As a general rule of home isolation, both the patients were given a separate room with attached bathroom and toilet and Divesh’s father donned the cape of the caregiver for initial seven days as after that he too tested positive for the disease and being a patient with diabetes, he was asked to go for institutional quarantine.
Explaining the general practices that the family followed during the 18-days in their home-isolation, Divesh said,
There are few thumb rules we had to follow – First, we had to keep the oximeters on always, which was given to us by the health officials to basically track our oxygen levels. We were told to ring an alarm on the Aarogya set app if our oxygen levels dropped and were also given an emergency number. Secondly, we had to keep in touch with the health official who used to call us daily in the morning to enquire about our health or symptoms. Thirdly, we were given a long prescription of medicines, which we both had to take without a miss.
Highlighting the steps which were followed at his home, Divesh further adds,
Initially, when my father was taking care of us he was not allowed to meet us, nor anyone else could come to our house. So, he was the one who used to cook us food and once it was ready he used to keep it outside our rooms and go away. We were given separate utensils for food and water, we had to wash our own utensils as those could not go into the kitchen as it is. Apart from utensils, we both washed our own clothes as well. Whatever things we touched were immediately sanitised by us only – be it door knobs or windows. Outside our rooms, my father regularly made sure he is sanitising every single thing. Moreover, he made sure, whenever he comes close to the rooms to give us food, he was wearing gloves. Yet, he also contracted the virus. It was a very difficult situation as all of us were apart and fighting the disease on our own. Once my father went for institutional quarantine, we had no caregiver at home and the situation became really messy. Thankfully, few of my neighbours took charge of providing us food and we survived the rest of the home isolation days.
When asked what were the biggest challenges the family faced in their fight against COVID-19, Divesh explains,
The biggest challenge was knowing that we all are COVID positive, with so much information and cases out there floating on social media and news channels, we were all very scared. I remember the time when my father was tested positive, he couldn’t talk to anyone for hours and the challenge was that we couldn’t go and hug or console him. Usually when a person is facing other illnesses it rarely happens that there never have been a time when no one is allowed to console them or be with them. But with coronavirus it is totally different, more than illness it has metal effect on everyone’s health.
Another challenge with COVID-19 which Divesh explains is about the logistics and day-to-day routine. He says since all his family members were COVID-19 positive and no one was allowed to enter the house, the family faced issues like getting food from the gate where the neighbours used to keep food, putting the food in utensils, serving it to each other. He adds,
Once my father left us for institutional quarantine, both me and my mother were on our own at the home. We live on a second floor, now one of the things in home quarantine is that you need to be confined to one room and not move around. But in our case, things were different. Since I was asymptomatic and my mother was symptomatic, I decided to go about for daily rituals at home for example, my neighbours used to keep food for us at the main gate near lift area, I used to fetch food and then put it in our utensils and serve it to both me and my mother. The first floor is rented out and third floor is occupied with 2 people, who are the owners. When we were tested positive the first thing, we did was to inform them and asked them not to use the lift and take all the necessary precautions.
After completing more than 18 days in isolation the son and mother duo went for their test again and were tested negative. Few days after, Divesh’s father also joined them after he tested negative.
Talking about the after effects, Divesh’s father adds,
I still have a very bad taste in my mouth and I still can’t smell things. Sometimes, the body ache is so much that doing small things like watering plants or getting a glass of water seems difficult. But I am glad now I am back at home with my family and I am thankful that we survived the virus, in this case, I can’t say we survived it together, but we did survive!
The family has also got their whole house sanitised now and as a precautionary measure staying isolated for few more days.
Divesh signs off with a plea,
One thing which I want to highlight is that no one should underestimate the virus, it can happen to anyone. Following all precautions by heart is the only way to win back life from coronavirus. The 18 days time in home isolation has been the hardest days of my life – though I didn’t feel weak physically but mentally the pressure was huge. I kept myself busy with my online classes and social media but my mother and father didn’t have such option. I have seen them thinking always about this virus – whether they will come out of it strong or not, I have seen them suffering and the worse part is that I couldn’t stand by their side.
India’s Coronavirus Status
India surpassed Brazil and became the second worst-hit country in the world after the United States from coronavirus. India on Tuesday reported its highest increase in the number of COVID-related deaths as it added 75,809 coronavirus infections and 1,133 virus-related deaths in last 24 hours, as per the Health Ministry data. On Sunday and Monday, India reported over 90,000 cases for two consecutive days. The total number of cases in India has reached 42,80,442. About 8.83 lakh cases in the country are active (20.9 per cent of the total cases) and the recovery rate stood at 77.6 per cent.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.
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