With 1959 patients in home quarantine as of Monday morning, the Ministry of Health is concerned by the downplaying of symptoms by some patients to avoid hospitalization.
Speaking at a media conference on Monday, Caroni County Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jeanine St Bernard, stated that home quarantine supervision is being done through daily telephone calls with the infected. She noted that in these calls some patients have avoided relaying new and worsening symptoms to CMOH’s in their daily reports.
“Patients are sometimes downplaying their symptoms or signs of worsening in order to avoid possible admissions to Caura or Couva Hospital. That is dangerous practice and it really should not continue. We are asking begging, please contact the physician who has been in contact with you twice daily or feel free to call 811,” she said.
With worsening symptoms, she said, patients will be visited by the GRMTT team, who will decide if admissions to hospitals is a necessary step.
“The GMRTT personnel will visit your home to make an assessment. Sometimes they will visit and make an assessment and when they communicate with us, we will say okay it is okay to continue at home. Sometimes when they visit, and they make the assessment, after conversation with the specialist we may make the determination that you need to be admitted, You are not an inconvenience we all want good outcomes and we want persons who are being managed at home to recover fully and to return to normal life as soon as possible,” she said.
She added that should a patient be hospitalized, the patient will be treated in accordance with the severity of their symptoms. Some, she said, have been hospitalized for a short period and discharged back to their homes.
“If upon assessment by the GMRTT personnel, we think it necessary for you to be admitted to hospital you will receive the care that you need until it is safe to return back to your care at home with where we can continue where we left off, which is calling you twice daily. Some of our patients have gone into hospital for a few days, they have received oxygen therapy and other medical support and then they have been discharged home where we have continued our monitoring via the telemedicine team,” said Dr St. Bernard.
For patients who suffer with asthma or related illnesses that may experience similar symptoms to COVID-19, she said that reports should still be made to the CMOH. Of the symptoms mentioned that may worsen in time, are shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue. In children, reports of blue lips, tightening or discomfort in the chest area and pain should be noted,
“The worsening symptoms that we look at increasing shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, being in and out of consciousness, uncoordinated movements or even dizziness. Some other signs include increasing fatigue, chills, persistent fever as well as chest pain or discomfort. In children, parents and caregivers have difficulty breathing, fast or shallow breaths, their lips or face may turn blue, they may describe chest pain or pressure, they may be newly confused, unable to wake up and not keeping down any liquids...I beg you, report your symptoms to the physical calling you twice per day. If you develop worsening symptoms, GMRTT is always available at 811.” she said.