The most common COVID-19 anthem in the last few weeks is gradually switching from getting tested and increasing personal hygiene habits to just “staying at home.” Celebrities and other influential personalities have taken to their social media pages encouraging people to stay home in order to avoid contact with potentially ill people. Staying home is a good choice, if no-one living under the same roof or room with you is not infected with the COVID-19 virus. However, the only way to know if those present within your living space have the virus or not, is by making sure that everyone knows their test status. It is no news that some infected people are asymptomatic and may exhibit no symptoms whatsoever. If such people end up under the same roof with other COVID-19 uninfected persons, then there is a high risk of transmitting the disease between people in the same enclosed environment.
Knowing fully well that COVID-19 is also an air-borne disease – disease transmitted via air (but not limited to), housing infected persons with uninfected persons together would lead to an exponential infection rate. This will in turn result in additional deaths for those who would not recover from the illness. It will also increase the strain on the already overwhelmed healthcare system that is struggling to cope with the increasing cases of infected persons. It is cheaper to invest in COVID-19 testing kits and early isolation of infected persons, with will result in early containment of the virus as seen in China. A vivid example of asking people to stay home with testing is evident in the case of a New Jersey family that lost four of its family members to COVID-19, and has four more struggling with recovery from the disease.
- Testing MUST be made aboundantly available in order to identify those who are already infected and isolate them early enough. That way, they are not an infection risk to unifected persons around them.
- Testing should be conducted via a “door to door” aproach. Selected health care professionals and speedy test kits should be made available to conduct speedy tests. The shorter the time frame between tests and test results – the better. As this is really crucial to the control process – finding and isolating infected persons.
- A separate holding unit should be built or allocated to holding confirmed COVID-19 patients for treatment. We need to remember that people with other types of ilnesses would need and should have acess to hospitals without fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus within the hospital premises. People struggling with other ilnesses might have a lower imune system than others.
- Every healthcare force in every country should be divided into several units. Some doctors should be tasked with only taking care of patients without the coronavirus disease at separate healthcare facilities. Such doctors should have no contact with either patients or doctors involved with COVID-19 patients.
- Tele-check-up, or telehealth as commonly called might not be the best approach in a time like this. Doctors are the best professionals to determine the health status of potentially ill people. A physical check is usually required during doctor’s visit. That luxury diminishes if sick people are solely required to talk to doctors via telephone alone. Patients are not trained doctors, and should not be counted upon to perform self-diagnostics via telephone with a doctor.
- All doctors MUST have access to the right tools for taking care of patients and ensuring both personal and patient hygeine at all levels.
- All infected persons MUST be isolated at a specific COVID-19 treatment and holding facility. Self-isolation or individual-isolation might be less effective and should not be an option.
- If people must stay at home, all measures must be deployed to avoid transmission of the disease from one infected flat-mate/family member to the other.