As expected, the Omicron variant has become the dominant strain in South Korea.
With the number of cases expected to surge further with this highly transmissible variant,… health authorities are aiming to improve the current management system for at-home treatment to tackle the increase in cases.
"I’m here in Anseong city in Gyeonggi-do Province… where at-home treatment is already widely in place. Very recently, the city introduced its own strategy for at-home treatment to tackle the spread of Omicron."
"We judged that it would be difficult to keep up with Omicron, so we developed the so-called Anseong model. We hope this could be the starting point for change in Korea's COVID-19 response system."
A health expert from the Gyeonggi Provincial Medical Center Anseong Hospital says that the key effect would be to increase efficiency, by relaxing some of the current protocols in order to reallocate resources.
"We can reduce the number of calls from the current two times a day, to once. Then we can stop calling those who are at low risk, and only call patients when it is necessary. What's important is to manage patients in the most appropriate manner for each local government."
This being said, the city says that its community-based model is much more efficient when it comes to patient allocation.
Instead of having the central government allocating hospital beds to patients depending on their health condition , local hospitals would be in charge of classifying whether patients could stay at their homes or be moved to residential treatment centers, or the ICU, after checking their health condition.
This would allow healthcare providers to make prompt on-site changes,.. just like when people go to see doctors when they catch a flu.
The capital, Seoul, has also decided to expand the number of clinics managing at-home treatment.
From early February, small clinics will be able to look after up to 30 patients.
On a nationwide scale, the quarantine period for those who are fully-vaccinated and being treated at home has been reduced from 10 days to 7 days starting Wednesday.
The government has also vowed to increase the proportion of patients being treated at home from the current 50-percent to 90-percent.
Choi Min-jung, Arirang News.