Published: 11th July 2020
Where will the kids go if a family is tested COVID-positive? Lack of protocol is worrisome, say parents
There are also cases where the child may be allowed to stay with the mother at COVID Care Centres, an official said. However, this may increase the child's exposure to the virus
Parents now have one more worry apart from COVID-19 — what happens to the children if the rest of the family tests positive for the virus and are whisked away to hospitals or care centres?
"Recently, a family that we know had to be taken away to the hospital after being tested positive while they had a 10-year-old at home. The child was then sent to their grandmother who was the only one in the family who tested negative," said Ramiah Ariya, a resident of Thiruvanmiyur. "But what if she also had been positive and the child had been younger than 10? In my case, I have a three-year-old daughter," he added. Parents need to know the options they have at hand if and when they face this situation, he said.
"During other situations, staying with relatives would be an option but here relatives may also be hesitant to take the child in if the rest of its family has tested positive," he said. Express has earlier reported the ordeal of a 14-year-old boy who was home alone when he found out his father had passed away of COVID. His mother had been admitted to a care centre. "There needs to be a clear and uniform protocol across districts also for these situations. For example, in Chennai, if we tell authorities that the child is alone, they may permit them to be quarantined at home but in Chengalpattu, the authorities stay that institutional quarantine for the parents is the only option," said a Chennai based doctor who works with an airline.
When contacted, a senior Corporation official said that there are a few options available in these cases. "Wherever home quarantine is possible, we allow that. There are also cases where the child may be allowed to stay with the mother at COVID Care Centres," the official said. However, this may increase the child's exposure to the virus. "If the family is willing, they can be temporarily taken care or in the Corporation's shelters. However, we are always ready to serve such requests and work out a solution," the official said.