Many Covid patients will be allowed to stay at homePeople under the age of 70 with asymptomatic or mild cases of Covid-19 will be allowed to get treatment at home, the state disaster management agency announced Friday.
The announcement followed discussions between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters (CDC) on ways to expand treatment at home.
Many expect that with Korea's rising vaccination rate, the current number of serious cases will hold steady and it will be unnecessary to require all people who test positive for the virus to be sent to government facilities.
“In light of the declining rate of serious cases and a greater proportion of asymptomatic and mild cases due to the use of vaccines, we will expand the use of at-home treatment,” the CDC said.
Until now, only patients caring for underage children were allowed to receive home care. That will be expanded to include asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals under the age of 70 who tested positive for Covid-19 but are not deemed to be in need of hospitalization.
However, people whose living conditions do not allow them to effectively self-isolate, or who cannot maintain contact with health officials through the official mobile application, will not be allowed home treatment.
People who qualify and choose home treatment will have their condition evaluated by available medical personnel in their area. As such, they will be responsible for paying their own medical fees, unlike those who undergo quarantine in a government isolation and treatment center, where medical costs are entirely paid for by the state.
In case a home-care patient’s symptoms worsen, an emergency response system will be on alert to transport him or her to a professional medical facility.
The existing isolation policy for those returning from travel abroad or who have been in contact with a person who tested positive will apply to those who choose home treatment after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
Those who do not abide by the self-isolation policy and attempt to evade the official monitoring system will be required to wear a tracking device.
While the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s (KDCA) predicts that the daily number of domestic Covid-19 transmissions will reach 3,500-4,300 in the latter half of October if the current trend of infections continues, health officials have stated it will be possible to mitigate the contagion’s spread with vaccines.
There has been no significant increase in the number of serious cases as the vaccination rate continues to rise. The number of serious cases recorded last week was 327, only slightly higher than the previous week’s figure of 324.