Chennai Corporation to loan pulse oximeters to those in home quarantine

According to officials, the initiative will target patients from low income groups

In a bid to strengthen the monitoring of COVID-19 patients under home quarantine, the Greater Chennai Corporation has launched an initiative to loan pulse oximeters to some of them for measuring oxygen saturation at regular intervals.

According to officials, the initiative would target those aged 50 or above or with comorbidities as they were the most vulnerable. The focus will be specifically on those from low-income groups, who may not have the device and cannot afford to buy one.

Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi said, “We have observed that those from the relatively higher income groups generally have a pulse oximeter or buy one as soon as they test positive. It is not the same with people from low income groups as they cannot afford it.”

Highlighting that the Corporation was receiving a lot of support from many organisations through corporate social responsibility initiatives, he said the civic body had asked some of them to buy pulse oximeters in large numbers.

“Almost all our fever survey workers have pulse oximeters now. We have now decided to loan surplus devices to those who need it but cannot afford one,” he said.

He said the devices would be loaned for 10 days and would be collected back after proper sanitation.

As of Thursday, the city had 28,186 active cases, of which roughly 70% are in home quarantine. As per the present COVID-19 management protocol, once a person tests positive, a field-triaging team will visit the house to assess his/her symptoms and measure oxygen saturation level.

If further tests or admission to a COVID-19 Care Centre or hospital is required, the person will be taken there. Otherwise, the person will remain in home quarantine. From then on, the tele-counseling centres of the Corporation will take charge of periodic monitoring of the patient’s health over the phone by calling at least once a day.

“As many may not have pulse oximeters, those at call centres will ask for symptoms like breathing difficulties, cough, etc., to assess the severity and decide whether the patient needs institutional care,” said Deputy Corporation Commissioner (Health) Alby John Varghese. Equipping those in home quarantine as much as possible with pulse oximeters would enhance surveillance and shorten the delay between worsening of symptoms and admission to institutional care. “While lending it to the patients, our workers will also teach them how to use it,” he added.

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