With the number of coronavirus cases in India increasing, the government has issued a set of guidelines on how to manage coronavirus patients. The document states that nearly 70 per cent of cases in India are mild or very mild. As such, these cases might not need to be admitted to dedicated COVID-19 hospitals. In order to make the optimum use of the available resources, the government has clarified that only moderate and severe cases will be admitted to hospitals.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has demarcated different kinds of facilities depending on the severity of the cases. The mild or very mild cases would be admitted to 'COVID care centres', while moderate and severe cases would be admitted to 'dedicated COVID health centre' and 'dedicated COVID hospitals' respectively.
Here's how these coronavirus treatment facilities are different from each other:
1. COVID CARE CENTRES -- MILD CASES
These are makeshift facilities and can be set up in hostels, hotels, schools, stadiums etc. Existing quarantine facilities can also be transformed into CCCs. These facilities must have separate areas for suspected and confirmed cases, preferably with separate entry and exit. If suspected cases are assigned, they must be assigned individual rooms. The CCCs must be mapped to one or more 'dedicated COVID health centres' for referrals. All CCCs must also have basic life support ambulances for sufficient oxygen support. AYUSH doctors following the training protocols issued by AIIMS would take care of the patients here.
2. DEDICATED COVID HEALTH CENTRES -- MODERATE CASES
Unlike the CCCs, DCHCs must be a full hospital of a block in a hospital with different entry and exit. Private hospitals might also function as DCHCs. Similar to CCCs, these facilities must have separate areas for suspected and confirmed cases. These facilities must have beds with oxygen support. Every DCHC will be mapped to 'dedicated COVID hospitals' for referrals. These facilities must also have basic life support ambulances with oxygen support.
3. DEDICATED COVID HOSPITALS -- SEVERE CASES
These too, must be full hospitals or a block in a hospital. DCHs must provide comprehensive care primarily for the ones who have been identified as severe cases. Like DCHCs, private hospitals could also be DCHs. These facilities must have fully-equipped ICUs, ventilators and beds with oxygen support. These, too, would have separate areas for suspected and confirmed cases. DCHs would also act as referral centres for DCHCs and CCCs.
State governments and UTs could also set up fever clinics in these centres, depending on the availability of sufficient space to minimise cross-infection. The medical officer at fever clinics could also refer patients to DCH, DCHC or CCC.