Ensuring Covid-19 positive patients and suspects remain indoors during home quarantine and isolation has become a challenge for public health officials in Hyderabad and across other districts in Telangana.
With a majority of coronavirus positive patients having either mild or asymptomatic condition, district medical officers and field level surveillance officers in Hyderabad are frequently coming across instances where such positive persons are reluctant to stay indoors and in the process carry a threat of becoming super-spreaders.
There are over 12,000 Covid-19 positive patients across the State who are either under home isolation or quarantine during the ongoing pandemic. More than 80 per cent of these positive cases are from areas under GHMC, Rangareddy and Medchal districts.
Persons with mild symptoms and asymptomatic positive cases should remain in home isolation for at least 17 days. “After 17 days, the viral load decreases and such persons carry no risk of infecting others in the community. However, we have come across numerous instances where positive persons hesitate to share their status in the colony or apartment and keep mingling with the community,” field level health care workers said.
The tendency to delay announcing Covid-19 positive status or even hiding it comes from the stigma that has become synonymous with the infection.
“We can’t blame such people because they are being driven by circumstances. It is the fear from the coronavirus that is driving stigma and discrimination. This behaviour is universal and is also seen in the State. The only way to fight it is to keep spreading awareness and educating people at every opportunity,” says Head, Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Warangal, Dr SRRY Srinivas.
No venturing out
People with symptoms of cold, cough, loss of taste, smell and other typical symptoms of Covid-19 must avoid venturing out. Chances are that such persons end up being super-spreaders, where knowingly or unknowingly they infect large number of people.
“It is the responsibility of individuals to get tested if they have cough, sore throat running nose, fever, breathing difficulty, body pains, headache etc. We are providing free of cost testing facility at nearest primary health centres. Nobody should venture out without wearing masks,” says Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao.