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Plan issued on re-examination of discharged COVID-19 patients

Updated: Apr 09,2020 04:03 PM

The State Council on April 8 issued a trial working plan on visits and re-examination of discharged novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients for their complete recovery and better aftercare management.

According to the plan, health departments at all levels should make further plans and coordinate quarantine observation and management of patients discharged from hospitals.

Designated hospitals should provide follow-up and re-examination services and health advice to the patients, and community medical institutions should update health conditions of those in home isolation.

In terms of isolation management, the circular required a 14-day quarantine for all discharged patients as soon as they leave hospitals, either at home on their own or at isolation sites with others.

During the quarantine period, their body temperatures and other physical conditions should be recorded on a daily basis, in order to spot any recurring symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. Family members who live with the patients should also be quarantined.

For those in home quarantine, it said they should leave the hospital with uncontaminated clothes and masks, avoid public transportation, and disinfect their used clothes from the hospital.

They should stay in a single room with good ventilation, monitor their own health status, wear masks, and stay warm. Family members and care workers should separate meals from and avoid close contact with the patients, maintain good hygiene and also avoid going out. Their daily used items should be cleaned and disinfected separately.

For isolation sites, rooms should have independent ventilation and bathrooms. People under quarantine should not leave their rooms. There should be emergency supplies, medical workers and other staff to support the patients.

As for re-examination and return visits, designated hospitals should follow specified standards and notices for discharged COVID-19 patients. Doctors should offer a medical evaluation and tips for follow-up visits, and a particular mechanism and record for return visits should be established.

Also, each patient should sign a discharge notice with details.

Moreover, hospitals should establish re-examination plans for two to four weeks, covering tests on blood, biochemistry, oxygen saturation and pathogen detection for COVID-19. Saliva samples with high reliability are preferred. Patients with pneumonia should be examined by chest CT.

Respiratory function checks should be carried out for discharged patients who have suffered severe and critical conditions. Recovery advice should be given after analyzing their lung inflammation absorption, pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary function damage, and physical and psychological functions.

Elderly and patients with underlying diseases should be given additional care and monitoring. And patients should visit designated hospitals located near their residence.

Those who test positive in nucleic acid re-tests with symptoms such as fever and cough, with aggravated pulmonary lesions on CT image, must be transferred to a designated hospital for further treatment as soon as possible.

If there are no symptoms or issues on CT image yet with positive test results, the patients should stay in quarantine observation and take measures mentioned in the circular.

The circular also called on health departments to keep the public updated and eliminate discrimination against recovered patients.