The government is preparing to discharge the first cohort of COVID-19 patients who are hospitalised at Sir Ketumile Masire Hospital because they have recovered, The Botswana Gazette has established.
However, the Director of Health Services, Dr Malaki Tshipayagae, says it is unlikely that all patients who have recovered will be released. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the recovery time from Coronavirus depends on a number of factors, including how sick one becomes, one’s age and gender, and one’s underlying health issues.
“For people with mild symptoms, the fever should settle in less than a week, although the cough may linger for slightly longer,” says WHO. “People with mild symptoms should take no longer than two weeks to recover. However, if you develop more serious symptoms such as pneumonia, it can take much longer to recover. Using available preliminary data, the median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks and is three to six weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.”
It is not known how the government will handle the process of discharging patients who have recovered but different countries have adopted slightly different protocols for discharging a novel coronavirus patient who has recovered.
Countries are currently basing their discharge protocols on the Chinese model. Speaking to this publication, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Lemogang Kwape, asked this publication to wait for the government to release a statement on the issue. “What we can say for now is that the patients are in good shape and are in constant communication with their families through their phones and social media,” he said.
China, the country from which the deadly virus began, recommends discharging COVID-19 patients if they don’t have a fever for three days, show improved respiratory symptoms, reduced inflammation in respiratory tracts and test negative twice in consecutive samples taken at least 24 hours apart.
These discharged patients are to stay in isolation, which means they are to have no contact with their family members, will eat by themselves and will have no outdoor activities for 14 more days. It is mandatory for them to wear a face mask and live in a room with good ventilation.
They have to visit a hospital for a check-up after two weeks and again after four weeks. The Chinese protocol calls for setting up a separate or specially designated hospital facility for cured COVID-19 patients’ return visits and re-testing for novel Coronavirus.
The Chinese experience was followed everywhere in the world for treatment of COVID-19 patients, with countries altering the protocol, depending on their own clinical experience.