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Centre issues quarantine facilities guidelines amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Quarantine facilities should preferably be set up on outskirts of cities, arrangements should be such that interactions between quarantined people and healthcare professionals or supporting staff were minimised

The Centre recently issued guidelines for quarantine facilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that they should preferably be set up on the outskirts of cities and arrangements should be such that interactions between the quarantined people and healthcare professionals or supporting staff were minimised.

During the quarantine period, contacts should be monitored at least daily for fever and respiratory symptoms, the advisory posted on the Union Health Ministry website said.

Based on risk assessment — low risk areas, moderate risk areas and high risk areas — the facilities should be earmarked and infection prevention control measures to be applied as per guidelines, it said.

In the quarantine facility, the chief medical officer needs to be appointed as in-charge or nodal officer for overall coordination and supervision of the quarantine centre.

Services of general duty medical doctors, medicine specialists, paediatrics, microbiologist (for diagnostic support and IPC), psychiatrists and psychologists are required for routine examination and relevant clinical care of the quarantined people, the advisory said.

Paramedics, including staff nurse and lab technician, pharmacist need to be posted, it said.

Public health specialists are required for monitoring public health aspects of the facility, while services of clinical microbiologist are required for sample collection, packaging and infection prevention and control practices, it said, adding that house keeping staff also needed to be deployed.

“All quarantined people need to be examined twice (morning and evening) daily clinically and those requiring eight referrals for related symptoms of coronavirus (fever, cough, sore throat, breathlessness etc.) or any other reason need to be referred to designated hospital in ambulance directly with due precautions,” the guidelines said.

Ambulances need to be placed in the facility in standby mode for transport, including advanced lifesaving ambulance, they said.

“To ensure standardised reporting, daily reporting formats of suspected cases with symptoms related to coronavirus, number of cases requiring referral, sample collection status needs to designed. It needs to be sent daily to relevant higher authorities,” the guidelines say.

Monitoring visit needs to be conducted inside quarantine facility and outside the facility in the surrounding campus by public health and in-charge officers and gaps to be noted, they say.

“To ensure that all healthcare personnel use PPE as per guidelines, they need to be properly trained and assisted during wearing of PPE,” the guidelines said. “Separate areas to be earmarked for PPE donning and doffing. Compliance for same to be ensured by nodal officer.”

Disposable and pre-packed food needs to be served to quarantined people and they are to be kept on separate beds with distance of 1-2 metres with no bed facing opposite to each other, they said.

For baseline testing, samples (nasopharyngeal swab and throat swabs) for COVID-19 need to be collected from all quarantine people and sent with triple layer packaging maintained in cold chain (2-8 degrees Celsius) to designated laboratory.

The quarantined people needs to be discharged at the end of 14 days of incubation period provided samples are negative on resampling, the guidelines stated.

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