Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Optional home self-Isolation for asymptomatic active COVID-19 cases

Following the directives of the Government Executive Committee, chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, and in line with the approval of a recommendation made by the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), headed by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Health, HE Lieutenant-General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, asymptomatic active COVID-19 cases will now have the option to self-isolate at home from Sunday 07 June, 2020.

HE Dr. Shaikh Mohammed highlighted that all services provided and guidelines to be followed will be in line with standards approved by the World Health Organization. Positive cases will be directed to the Shamel Field Hospital (Comprehensive Disability Center) for triaging and assessment. Patients who meet the set criteria and opt to self-isolate at home will be issued an electronic bracelet and receive the needed medical supplies for the isolation period. This will include masks, sterile gloves, and basic medications if required.

HE Dr. Shaikh Mohammed noted that all asymptomatic cases under home self-isolation will be monitored daily by health professionals and the “BeAware Bahrain” app. In this regard, HE Dr. Shaikh Mohammed further noted the importance of reporting any symptoms that may develop, adding that the home self-isolation period is 14 days and a ‘Self-Isolation Exit Test Appointment’ will be required in order for patients to be officially discharged.

The following is the set criteria for the optional home self-isolation:

  • Patients under 60 years of age
  • Patients with no underlying chronic illnesses
  • Patients who are asymptomatic, or with mild symptoms, and those not living with individuals with low immunity
  • Patients must have access to a secluded area at the place of residence
  • Patients who understand they must vigilantly follow the home self-isolation guidelines

The home self-quarantine measures will also be applied to those living in the same residence, and will follow the guidelines for contacts of active cases, which include the following:

  • An appointment must be scheduled for testing
  • Contacts of active cases must ensure they do not interact with others and do not leave their residence.
  • Should there be an urgent need to leave the residence, masks must be worn when in public settings
  • An Exit Test must be conducted after 14 days.

The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19) underscored the importance of following the home self-isolation guidelines. Those self-isolating must not interact with others at all times, use a separate room and bathroom, must not share personal tools and utensils, observe personal hygiene, regularly wash their hands with soap and water, wear protective masks in case of leaving the house for an emergency, dispose of waste within a separate trash bag, and ensure the waste is not added to household waste until 72 hours have passed.

The Taskforce noted that in conjunction to the optional home self-isolation measures provided, the Kingdom’s isolation and treatment capacity has increased to reach 7,240 beds, with a current occupancy of 5,546 beds. Quarantine centers’ capacity stands at 3,410 beds, with 487 being occupied. The Taskforce further noted that COVID-19 medical treatment and health care remains free of charge across all quarantine and isolation treatment centers, with priority for active COVID-19 cases experiencing symptoms. Options for those wishing to receive treatment at a private facility are also provided, at the patient’s own expense.

The taskforce concluded by emphasising the importance for all to vigilantly follow the guidelines issued by various authorities in order to ensure the safety and health of the community.

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