How Do I Know if I Have Covid-19 and What to Do Next?

This is a trying time for many of us but, in times of crisis, it helps to have verified information about local rules, measures, and state requirements. This article covers information about Covid tests, local medical facilities such as oxygen and ventilators, and what to do if you test positive.

When to suspect you could have Covid-19

  • If you have travelled to a place with a high case-load (anywhere in the plains, but Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu have all had a particularly high load during India’s second wave).
  • If you have attended a wedding, funeral, or any other gathering, particularly with people who have travelled from such places.
  • If you have travelled by aeroplane, bus, or train, especially in an enclosed space with other travellers.
  • If you develop a fever with any of these symptoms: headache, sore throat, fatigue, muscle pain, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, loss of taste or smell. Note: there are other less common symptoms, but these are the primary ones.
  • If you have travelled outside Kodai, it would be responsible to self-isolate for a week and get a swab test done 5-6 days after returning. The incubation period is 3-14 days (peaking at 5-7 days) and some infections are asymptomatic.

I have Covid-19 symptoms, what next?

Immediately get yourself examined by a doctor and tested for SARS CoV2. There are two places in Kodaikanal to get swab tests:

Government Urban Primary Health Centre
Anandagiri, 4th Street
Timings: 8 am – 6 pm. (Swab tests only accepted till 1 pm)
Cost: free.
Ph: 04542 243253

Van Allen Hospital
St Mary’s Road
Timings: Open 24 hours. (Swab tests only accepted till 1 pm)
Cost: Rs 2,500
Ph: 04542 241273/ 241254

Note: Both places accept tests until 1 pm, as they must be sent down to their respective laboratories for processing. Both centres have walk-in testing, and no appointment is necessary. 

For home testing, contact Agam Diagnostics in Madurai one day in advance (Ph: 08940894079). They usually send up a technician to test a few people at a time. 

Continue to self-isolate until you get your result. If it is negative, you can be on your merry way but do continue to be careful.

What if my result is positive?

  • As of May 13th, the Tamil Nadu government asks only those with oxygen concentration of less than 92 percent to be hospitalized/ seek admission. The Dindigul district protocol requires that all SARS CoV2-positive patients remain in home quarantine or at a government-authorized isolation centre (if home quarantine is not possible) for a period of 10 days.
  • The Covid ward at the Government Hospital on PT Road (Ph: 04542 241292) has 34 beds with oxygen and four with ventilators. Van Allen Hospital has two Covid wards (eight general beds and seven private beds) with piped oxygen, a high flow nasal oxygen device, and an oxygen generator. The Kodaikanal Health and Medical Services (KHMS) Hospital is in the process of developing a Covid facility, with the assistance of their parent hospital, the Devadoss Hospital, Madurai.
  • Quarantine centres include the Mother Teresa University hostels (40 beds) in Attuvampatti and a private quarantine centre at the Swedish House (Swedish Compound, Upper Lake Road), on account of a partnership between Van Allen Hospital and Kodaikanal International School. Van Allen is the admitting authority.
  • Mild and asymptomatic cases can try the Municipality Guesthouse (25 beds) on PT Road, with 17 rooms, converted into a centre for level 2 patients who will need monitoring by healthcare personnel but do not require oxygen. Also, BC Hostel in Attuvampatti (25 beds) and CS International Hotel (10 beds) in Naidupuram. This makes for a total of 100 beds, of which 91 were available as of 5th June. 
  • If you test positive, you will be advised by the doctor in charge of the testing centre whether you require to be in home isolation, would need to be in another authorized isolation centre, or would need to be hospitalized, based on your symptoms and examination findings. Go directly to the hospital of your choice (GH or VAH), prepared for admission for a few days to a week. You will not be able to have any visitors while in isolation/ quarantine or admitted in hospital.
  • Both centres allow patients to get food from outside in disposable containers, which must be left with the hospital staff to take to the patient; Van Allen also has a canteen that provides a modest range of freshly prepared food.
  • Do not come in contact with anyone for this 10 day period, as you may transmit Covid-19 to them.
  • If you have been in contact with anybody in the previous week, let them know that you have tested positive. Ideally, they should isolate and get swab-tested. A contact is anyone with whom you may have spent more than five minutes speaking, with or without a mask, in the preceding week.
  • Your household will need to be in home quarantine for 10 days, or a period of time specified by the Covid Nodal Officer for Kodaikanal, Dr Madan Vignesh, who works out of the Government Hospital. All members of your household will be required to get tested as well.
  • Your premises will be sanitized by Sanitation Department workers within 24 hours of your swab test being reported.
  • All Covid-19 patients in Kodai fall under the care of the Covid Nodal Officer for Kodaikanal. Dr Madan is also the deciding authority for referral of any patient to a higher centre.

Dr. Malini Devanandan

Dr Malini Devanandan completed her undergraduate training at CMC, Vellore, and her post-graduate training in family medicine at the Christian Fellowship Hospital, Oddanchatram. She currently works at Kodaikanal International School.

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