HMC announces new protocol for handling of COVID-19 patients
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) announced a new protocol for the handling of new coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.
According to the new protocol, most patients with COVID-19 in Qatar will be discharged from healthcare facilities fourteen days after their first positive swab. Upon discharge from a hospital or isolation facility, patients should follow the instructions provided by medical professionals, including downloading and activating the Ehteraz mobile application.
They should also remain in home quarantine for an additional week and those who violate these conditions will be subject to penalties according to the penal code laws on the prevention of infectious diseases and the protection of the community.
HMC announced a new protocol for dealing with patients infected with (Covid-19), who are currently observed in the facilities of the institution, according to which the majority of patients will be removed from health care facilities 14 days after the date of infection. #QNA pic.twitter.com/Nyh6LVeIPX— Qatar News Agency (@QNAEnglish) May 28, 2020
Until now, many patients have remained in hospital or isolation facilities for longer than fourteen days as their discharge required them to have two negative PCR test results before leaving the facility. The new protocol will benefit patients by enabling them to return home and back to normal life as quickly as possible.
“The new protocol for discharging patients with COVID-19 is an encouraging step forward and brings Qatar in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and the most recent scientific evidence showing that after ten days from the first positive swab, the majority of patients are no longer contagious with COVID-19,” said Dr. Naema Al Molawi, Virologist at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
“Our process for discharge so far has required patients to wait for two negative swabs before being able to return home. However, a negative test result can take a few weeks to come through because for some people the body still contains traces of the virus. However, guidance from WHO and from around the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany show that patients are no longer contagious after ten days. In Qatar, we will go a step further with a fourteen-day period between the first positive swab and discharge,” added Dr. Al Molawi.
However, the new discharge policy applies to those patients who do not require medical support. Any patient with moderate to severe symptoms that require ongoing medical treatment will continue to be cared for in a medical facility until their symptoms subside.
“The policy will apply to most COVID-19 patients; however, there are some exceptions. If the patient is returning to a household which includes one or more people over 60 years of age, and it is judged appropriate, an additional COVID-19 test will be done prior to discharge. If the test is positive the patient will remain in a hospital or isolation facility for further seven days and will then be discharged without a repeat test. Additionally, hospitalized patients, especially older patients and those with chronic conditions, who had required acute care because of severe COVID-19 symptoms, will be judged on a case-by-case basis by the treating physician before discontinuing isolation,” explained Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director, Communicable Disease Center and the Medical Director for COVID-19.
For any queries, or concerns related to COVID-19 in Qatar, the public can contact a 24/7 hotline set up by the Ministry. The hotline number is 16000 and is toll-free.
Here's everything you need to know about the virus, including ways to protect yourself.
Make sure to check out our social media to keep track of the latest content.
Instagram - @qatarliving
Twitter - @qatarliving
Facebook - Qatar Living