In spite of the debate generated by the decision of the federal government to adopt home-based treatment for COVID-19 patients, due to limited bed spaces, the Lagos State government has listed patients qualified to be treated at home with the infection.
This is coming as the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu has directed that asymptomatic patients can be discharged 14 days after first positive test, while symptomatic patients may be discharged at least 10 days after symptom onset and at least three days without symptoms.
According to the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi : “If you are asymptomatic, you qualify to be managed at home simply because most people in that category will naturally get well without any medical intervention.
“After all if you are not feeling any symptom you may not know you have COVID-19, nothing happens to you and you may clear the virus after seven to 10 days”.
Abayomi, who explained that the state is about integrating home treatment of the infection in addition to isolation centre, said they are perfecting their strategies for commencement of home-based management of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 cases.
He noted that the home-based care is necessitated by the increasing numbers of positive cases in the community, which is a result of the increase in testing capacity.
At the weekly briefing on Friday, the commissioner added that with the increasing numbers of positive cases, the possibility of running short of bed spaces in isolation facilities can not be ruled out, making it imperative to opt for home based care for people who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic to the infection.
He however stressed that the state government will pay more attention to patients with moderate and severe cases and manage such cases at the Isolation centres because they are not suitable to be managed at home.
Speaking on the COVID-19 testing capacity of the state, Abayomi said testing capacity is being ramped up noting that the state now has the capacity to perform 1000 test per day and working at raising the capacity to 2000 or 3000 per day so that everybody that needs testing or wishes to be tested can get tested.
The NCDC DG had earlier issued new guidelines on the management of the disease in the country, urging physicians to discharge asymptomatic patients without waiting for a negative test 14 days after their first positive test.
He said: “If you are asymptomatic, you can be discharged 14 days after your asymptomatic.
“If you are symptomatic, you can be discharged if you have had three days without symptoms in addition to at least 10 days of symptoms.
“But if your symptoms last longer, we will wait longer while managing you supportively like I said earlier”, he stated.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, at different times had cautioned against the adoption of home-based treatment, where most patients live in crowded accommodation, which could lead to the escalation of the disease than its present status.