THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state health department has come out with revised guidelines for health care workers. Workers put on 10 days continuous duty in Covid positive ICUs have been advised 10-day quarantine while those at isolation wards for 10 days continuously need to go on quarantine for seven days.
Those working at Covid suspect ICUs will have to work for seven days followed by seven days of quarantine.
The guideline has also suggested that during the eighthour duty in a day, the health care workers need to work four hours wearing PPE and another four hours without PPE. There will be three shifts per day.
At present, health care workers, including doctors, are doing 14-day duty at a stretch followed by 14-day quarantine.
An expert committee appointed by the state government had suggested amendment in the guidelines in the wake of the increase in the number of cases.
In view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases and to prevent health care workers from getting infected, it has become essential that valuable human resources in the health sector are used judiciously, said Rajan N Khobragade, principal secretary (health).
A need-based duty arrangement will be made by district medical officers and hospital superintendents of medical college hospitals.
A three tier system of human resource management for Covid care has also been suggested: Staff directly involved in care of Covid-19 cases, off-duty pool and staff involved in care of non-Covid patients.
There will also be an additional team, which will function as emergency relievers to support these three tier staff in case of increased patient load or if any staff has to be relieved of duty.
The emergency relievers or back up team for the support of isolation facilities should not be involved in the direct patient care in Covid duty.
In addition, a staff district pool comprising of 15 staff in each category should also be made available at the district level to replace any staff that need to be placed under isolation or staff that are unable to attend work due to a family member being placed under isolation. A similar pool should be kept in all medical college hospitals as well.