Kolkata: Hundreds have been in home quarantine in Kolkata and the rest of the state following exposure to Covid-19 patients without sticking to the basic rules of isolation, say doctors. Many have shared rooms, toilets and even the same bed, which defeats the purpose of isolation and could lead to a spurt in transmission, experts warned.
In case circumstances make isolation difficult at home, it is advisable to move to a designated quarantine centre or a separate accommodation, they recommended.
A private hospital consultant said he was shocked to learn from a patient — who had tested positive — that his family of three had shared two rooms while they were in home quarantine. They had used the same bed and occasionally even the same toilet. “It was perhaps a miracle that none of them tested positive at the end of the quarantine,” said the doctor.
Few have gone into quarantine with a fair knowledge of what home isolation meant, according to pulmonologist Raja Dhar.
“It’s being treated like a vacation with the family. Ideally, each quarantined individual should be in a room isolated from others. Just one caregiver should be assigned to give him/ her food and other essentials and the latter should be using PPE. Food should preferably be kept outside the room letting the person to carry it inside. Toilet, crockery and bed linen should never be common. At no point should others in the house come within a distance of six feet from the quarantined person,” said Dhar.
He added that few were being able to follow the isolation norms due to space constraints “On an average, Kolkatans live in two-bedroom flats less than 1,000sqft that makes total isolation difficult. The poorer sections obviously share a much smaller area, which makes quarantine impossible. So, a better option is to move to a designated isolation unit or a separate accommodation if one can afford that,” added Dhar.
Since coronavirus can spread through oral and fecal matter, sharing any common space could be dangerous, said AMRI Hospital consultant Debashish Saha.
“Everything from utensils to towels and slippers should be different. Entry into the quarantined individual’s room should be barred since the virus can be transmitted through droplets on any surface,” Saha said.
People in quarantine should not come near senior citizens, young children, pregnant ladies, cancer patients, diabetics, asthma or cardiac patients, said Belle Vue Clinic internal medicine specialist Rahul Jain.
The kin of a Covid-19 patient in south Kolkata were forced to move out of their flat by neighbours last week. They shifted to the quarantine unit at New Town. Another quarantined family was asked by the local police to move to a hotel after neighbours protested. It could be inconvenient but shifting to a designated centre or a hotel accommodation was safer, according to Dhar.
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