The Tamil Nadu Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine on Tuesday issued orders reiterating that there is no need to take RT-PCR tests before discharging a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 . The Directorate passed the orders after reports stated that certain hospitals were conducting RT-PCR tests to decide on discharging patients.
Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Selvavinayagam said, "The government have issued Comprehensive Guidelines for management of COVID vide GO cited above. The said order explicitly says that there is ‘No need for testing prior to discharge’. However, it is unfortunate that the reports received in the directorate suggest that despite the clear order certain hospitals and authorities are carrying out RT-PCR test for deciding the discharge of coronavirus patients."
Selvavinayagam directed the Director of Medical Education, Director of Medical and Rural Health Services and Indian Medical Association to issue necessary instructions to the hospitals functioning under their control to strictly adhere to the comprehensive guidelines issued by the government and to restrain from taking RT-PCR test for COVID-19 to discharge the patients.
The discharge policy as suggested by the Union government instructs that there is no need for RT-PCR testing for mild and moderate positive patients. The guidelines for mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases at COVID Care Centre suggest that a patient can be discharged after 10 days of testing positive/date of home isolation/ date of admission at COVID Care Centre and no fever for three consecutive days. There is no need for testing the patient for COVID-19 before discharge. The patients should be advised to follow home isolation for a period of seven days after discharge.
In the case of moderate positive, the guidelines suggest that the patient can be discharged if asymptomatic for three consecutive days and after 10 days of testing positive for the virus. There is no need for testing the patient for COVID-19 before discharge. The patient should be advised to follow home isolation for a further period of seven days after discharge.
In severe cases, the guidelines suggest that a patient be discharged only after clinical recovery and after the patient tests negative on RT-PCR once after resolution of symptoms.