Hospitals are beginning to offer the home isolation program for Covid patients, the Ministry of Public Health said on Thursday.
The Department of Medical Services (DMSC) said on Monday that the program will mitigate the shortage of hospital beds for severe Covid cases in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved the policy.
“The CCSA has a policy to allow Covid patients in the green group, including people with mild symptoms or asymptomatic, to practice home isolation in order to free up hospital beds for people with moderate symptoms and severe cases,” said Dr. Satit Pitutecha, the Deputy Minister of the Public Health Ministry.
Four Covid patients have already signed up for the program at Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital, one of the first hospitals to offer it. Thammasat University Field Hospital announced on Thursday that they will also offer the program.
The four patients at Nopparat Rajathanee Hospital were instructed on how to treat themselves at home, and they were provided with a thermometer, a pulse oximeter and a telemedicine technology to communicate with their doctors if they experience additional symptoms.
They will be transferred back to the hospital if needed.
In its earlier statement, the DMSC stated that not every patient will be able to isolate themselves at home.
Patients must have only mild symptoms or asymptomatic, under 40, healthy, not overweight, live with only one other person and agree to live in isolation at home.
Upon passing the initial screening at the hospital, they will be registered and prescribed Favipiravir, or a traditional Thai herb called “fah talai jone” (Andrographis Paniculata), based on their condition.
There were 52,052 Covid patients being treated at hospitals on Thursday. Among them, 24,454 are being treated at public and private hospitals, while 27,598 are being treated in field hospitals.
Among the Covid patients, 1,971 were in critical condition, including 566 on ventilators.
As of June 27, there were 38 beds in dedicated airborne infection isolation rooms-ICUs in Bangkok and nearby provinces, just 11.4 per cent of their capacity.
There were also only 54 beds left in rooms recently upgraded to AIIR, or “modified-AIIR” (7.2 per cent of capacity) and 27 ICU beds (8.5 per cent of capacity).
There are currently between 400 and 500 infected people waiting at home for a hospital bed, according to the Public Health Ministry’s hotline.