In the past, people who were confirmed to be infected with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) had to be hospitalized immediately, but this time, if the doctor judges that there is no need for hospitalization, even if the person is infected, he or she may be ordered to take care of himself or herself at home. This is to secure priority beds for patients with a high risk of serious illness (*2). Therefore, in order to avoid spreading the infection in and around your home, we have summarized the points that you should keep in mind when you take home treatment.
Patient's care environment
If possible, it is desirable to secure a well-ventilated private room for the patient, but if this is not possible, partitions or curtains should be installed (*1) and everyone in the room should wear a surgical mask for adequate ventilation. You should also eat and sleep, preferably in a separate room.
Person who cares for the patient
The patient should be cared for by one person (a healthy person with no underlying disease). When coming into contact with the patient, both parties should wear a surgical mask, and if there is a risk of contact with the patient's bodily fluids or dirt from caring, cleaning, or washing, cover the body with gloves or a cape, etc., and wash hands with soap and running water before and after putting on and taking off (*4). Tissues that you blow your nose can also carry the virus, so it's best to seal up your garbage before taking it out of the room (*1).
Health care for patients and prevention of infection to housemate
Record your own temperature and medical condition twice a day and report it to the health center daily. Always wear a mask if there are people around you. Always wash your hands before and after eating and after using the toilet, and disinfect the toilet seat and other areas of contact with alcohol (*5). Minimize your range of motion, rest well, and rehydrate frequently(*5). If your symptoms change, please contact the health center as soon as possible without holding back (*2).
Infection control and health care for housemates
Gargle and wash your hands frequently (*1). Wear a surgical mask when interacting with patients and keep a sufficient distance of at least 2 meters (*1). Be careful not to touch the outer surface of the mask with your hands, eyes or mouth. If you have symptoms of fever, cough, or runny nose, report it to the health department.
Use of washroom, toilet and bathroom
If possible, it is desirable to have a patient-only washroom and toilet, but if this is not possible, adequate ventilation and cleaning should be provided. You can also use household cleaning detergent to reduce the amount of virus (*1). The patient should be bathed last in the family and should be thoroughly cleaned and ventilated after bathing (*2).
Things to avoid sharing
Personal items such as towels, sheets, clothing, dishes, chopsticks, spoons, toothbrushes, etc. should not be shared. Be especially careful not to share towels in the toilet, washroom or kitchen.
Linens and clothes should be washed with normal washing detergent at a higher water temperature and dried thoroughly. It is not necessary to separate the patient's and other people's items for washing, but please do not directly touch or share pre-washed items (*1,3).
Disinfection and hand washing
Disinfect surfaces that patients touch (desks, doorknobs, switches, phones, keyboards, tablets, remote controls, etc.) and common areas such as toilets and lavatories at least once a day with gloves and a household sanitizing spray. Also, wash your hands with soap and alcohol every time you enter or leave the area where the patient is recuperating or take off the mask.
How do you avoid spreading the infection around?
Try not to accept outside visitors. Your roommate may have already been infected, so wear a mask when you go out and wash your hands frequently (*1). Do not go to work or other places when you have symptoms such as a cough or fever. (*3)
Release from home treatment
Two consecutive negative PCR test results, at least 24 hours apart, are required for the patient to be released from home treatment. However, depending on the situation of the local health care system, it may be terminated when 14 days have elapsed from the day you started home treatment, so please check with the health center for details.