COVID-19: Isolation at Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has been with us for more than 18 months, along the way we have learned a lot about the virus and how the disease manifest and progress. The management of people who have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus has changed over time. In the beginning, we used to manage all COVID-19 patients in the hospitals, however, starting from the early of 2021, we have shifted to managing patients who do not show any symptoms or those with mild symptoms at home.

Just a couple of weeks back (22 July 2021) the Ministry of Health Malaysia has approved the use of a saliva self-test kit for the SARS-CoV-2 antigen, where anyone can purchase them online or from pharmacies and conduct the test. The results can also be updated on the MySejahtera application, which is available on Android and iPhone. The app also allowed the COVID-19 patient to identify close contacts.

The questions now arise, how should a patient who have diagnosed him/herself as COVID-19 positive isolate at home. In an interview with Clarissa Chung from the Star Newspaper, Prof Dr Victor Hoe discussed the issue.

What should a COVID-19 patient do during Home Isolation?

The MySejahtera itself have listed the things that a person should do during home isolation. There is information that a person needs to complete, e.g., the SpO2 levels and B.P., and a report of the daily symptoms that the person is experiencing.

The process may be too complex for some people.

The patient should engage their General Practitioners in the process of monitoring people in home isolation. This is because our current public health care system is overwhelmed and may not be able to cope with following up all people on home isolation.

Patients who are asked to be isolated at home, just need to complete the daily surveillance in their MySejahtera. So if they have a General Practitioner that they can go to, they can actually get the service of the GP to help them to monitor their symptoms and follow them up more closely.

The signs for deterioration for different individuals may be different, as it depends on your previous health conditions and your age. It may be difficult for some people to understand or identify those signs. The next best thing to do is to engage your General Practitioners to help you monitor your daily symptoms.

They will be the best person to do it as they have your medical records and will know your health conditions.

The pulse oximeter is one of the equipment that people on home isolation should have. With the pulse oximeter the person will be able to monitor their oxygen concentration more closely and if there is any deterioration can inform the CAC.

How can they avoid infecting people in the same house?

There are many guidelines available for people who need home isolation. The main thing is to avoid contact with other people while in home isolation. If possible, to have their own room and bathroom. During the whole time when the person is on home isolation, he/she should remain in the room and only open the door for food/drinks and for rubbish.

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