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By Francis Osiemo
Social interaction in the public space has tremendously changed because of the spread of the corona virus. As a result, measures such as self-isolation and quarantines have been put in place to help in the control of COVID-19. According to Wilder-Smith, (2020) isolation is the separation of ill persons with contagious diseases from non-infected persons to interrupt transmission to the non-infected people, while quarantines are the restriction of movement for persons who are presumed to have been exposed to the contagious disease but are not ill either because they are not infected or are in incubation period to reduce potential transmission.
COVID 19 is still an issue and the statistics show that the infection rates will continue increasing in Kenya and the rest of Africa. Therefore, it is imperative that people are accorded proper health care through telemedicine. Consultation by Live video and electronic dissemination of information can be a very valuable tool to prevent the spread of infection and yet be able to provide medical consultation; review test results, send reports and data for affected people and the medical staff or family tasked to care for them. This service helps both low-risk patients self-quarantined at home as well as moderate and high-risk patients, who may be quarantined in a facility, in a way that limits the risk of person-to-person spread of COVID 19 or any other virus. It also prevents the disease from infecting medical personnel, caregivers, and volunteers. SASAdoctor’s telemedicine technology is helping to prevent the disease from spreading.
According to The World Health Organization, (2020) Patients who test positive of the corona virus should be isolated and cared for in a health facility. However, if the situation of the isolation care facility is not sufficient patients with severe and critical illness should be given priority. SASAdoctor COVID 19 Monitoring Program is offered to institutions and organized groups at affordable rates. The use of Telemedicine or video visits and delivery of medications to facilitate remote healthcare is a solution that can help ensure continuity of care and management of COVID -19 patients or suspected patients in self-quarantine while limiting the requirement for in-person interactions.
Self-isolation is recommended if for patients who are laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, asymptomatic or have mild symptoms for COVID -19. The patients should be able to assess a suitable space for home-based isolation where they cannot share immediate space with others, also they need to have appropriate caregivers present at home who will ensure that the patient receives necessities such as food and they have to be able to read and record temperatures. Also, if the possible presence of separate washroom facilities such as a bathroom hence they will not have to share with the rest of the family members. In addition to that family members should have the needed protective gear at least gloves and a mask. These are important as a trained health care worker shall conduct the assessment. (The Ministry of Health, June 2020). For these people who will need to self-quarantine, there is a process that is outlined by the authorities and is followed strictly to ensure informed consent is taken care of and reporting to the government.
The procedure for self-isolation more so if you share a home with others needs high hygiene levels where hands have to be washed regularly with soap and running water after that one should dry it with a disposable paper towel. Also, the patients’ clothes, bed linen, towels, utensils, and areas frequently touched by the patients who have to be cleaned regularly by either washing with soap and water or disinfecting, respectively. Moreover, the patient should ideally have one caregiver who is healthy and they should be equipped with protective gear such as heavy gloves which are useful in handling body fluids, mostly oral, respiratory secretions, or stool and a mask which should not be touched during use. In addition to that if it gets dirty with secretions it must be removed using the appropriate method and be replaced. Also, all these gears must be immediately disposed of after use.
The period for self-isolation should last for at least fourteen days since the day the patient it was given the mandate to self-isolation and care. After the fourteen days of careful monitoring and recording of symptoms by the caregiver a testing is going to be done which is going to determine if still infected, two consecutive tests are done which should be twenty-four hours apart and if the two tests come out negative the patients are declared free from COVID-19.
In conclusion, the above is a guide to self-isolation that looks into three major recommended aspects of self-isolation. The aspects contain the meanings and the difference between self-isolation and quarantine. In addition to that, is goes ahead and looks at the recommendations for self-isolation, which are generally the checklist for you to be allowed to undergo self-isolation, the procedure for doing so, and more so period for self-isolation. Most of the clients who are in this program and their families have unlimited access to clinicians/doctors [GP]. There are 2-3 mandatory visits on telemedicine every day to monitor the progress of the patient. The dedicated team of clinicians and doctors who deal with COVID 19 patients always ensure that all patients are taken care of in all aspects and if need be, they can be referred for inpatient care, specialist review etc.
Chen, S., & Yaneer, B. (2020). Guidelines for self-isolation. New England Complex Systems Institution.
Amoth, P. (2020, June). Home Based Isolation and Care Guidelines for Patients with COVID-19. Ministry of Health.
Wilder, S.A., & Freedom, O.D. (2020). Journal of travel medicine 27 (2).taaa020