Positive test not mandatory for hospital admission: Government

Amid reports of delays in coronavirus testing across the country, the Centre has decided to do away with the mandatory requirement of a positive test for admission to a Covid health facility.

“A suspect case shall be admitted to the suspect ward of CCC (Covid Care Center), DCHC (Dedicated Covid Health Centre) or DHC (Dedicated Covid Hospital] as the case may be,” the Union Ministry of Health said. Besides, only “severe” Covid patients are required to show a negative RT-PCR test before discharge.

According to the Ministry, the “revised national policy for admission of Covid patients to various categories of Covid facilities” has been conveyed to the states in the form of a “significant directive”.

The Ministry has also asked all hospitals managing Covid patients, including private facilities, to ensure that no one is refused admission based on their residential location.

“No patient will be refused services on any count. This includes medications such as oxygen or essential drugs even if the patient belongs to a different city… No patient shall be refused admission on the ground that he/ she is not able to produce a valid identity card that does not belong to the city where the hospital is located,” the Ministry said in a statement.

However, the Ministry cautioned that admissions “must be based on need” and beds should “not occupied by persons who do not need hospitalization”.

Under the revised discharge policy, no RT-PCR test will be required before discharge of “Very Mild/ Mild/ Pre symptomatic” and “Moderate” cases. However, patients in these categories will be advised at the time of discharge to isolate themselves at home and self-monitor their health for another seven days.

The Centre’s move comes at a time when laboratories are facing “challenges to meet the expected testing target due to extraordinary case load and staff getting infected”.