Mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients have been urged to stay under home isolation instead of getting admitted at private hospitals to keep beds available for those critically-ill and in need of urgent medical attention.

These points were stressed by the Telangana Super Speciality Hospitals Association (TSSHA) members at a press conference here on Monday in what was their first interaction with the media since the COVID outbreak. They said every person need not undergo coronavirus tests except when one develops symptoms and the situation warrants it. They also assured that they will not overcharge patients and stick to the rates fixed by the State government, unless one requires additional services.

The TSSHA members spoke about reasons for scarcity of COVID beds at private hospitals, services on offer for those in self-isolation at home, preparedness in the face of rising cases and charges for treatment among other aspects.

TSSHA president B. Bhaskar Rao, who is also the managing director of KIMS Hospitals, spoke at length to drive home the point that critically-ill COVID patients might struggle to find beds if mild or asymptomatic get admitted to hospitals. He said 95% to 96% of patients who recovered from COVID-19 were asymptomatic owing to their immunity or vaccines that they took for other diseases.

“If the asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic stay at home, we can provide treatment to the patients who need hospitalisation, who have severe symptoms and need oxygen support,” said Dr Rao.

All major corporate hospitals in Hyderabad have started to offer ‘Home Quarantine’ package for people isolating at home. Patients might have to visit the hospital once. The packages include a medical kit including a digital pulse oximeter, digital thermometer and others. Vitals, oxygen saturation, and other indicators of health condition will be monitored virtually. Doctors would offer consultation through phone or video call.

For better recovery in asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients, Dr Rao suggested complete rest, sleeping in prone position, gargling with salt water in the mornings and evenings, apart from steam inhalation.

On June 15, Telangana government issued an order capping prices for COVID treatment at private hospitals, and mentioned excluded charges such as high-end diagnosis, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing.

TSSHA general secretary R. Govind Hari said they are prepared to provide the best treatment at lowest rates. “We won’t fleece the patients. Government has fixed rates, we will charge only that much. If someone wants extra facility, we will provide it at a cost,” he said.

Regarding coronavirus tests, the association members said it is required only if someone has symptoms, or when a patient has to undergo a medical procedure.

TSSHA executive member Anil Krishna Gundala and vice-president Suresh Kumar were also present.

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