Kolkata, October 30: The West Bengal government will employ over 17,000 doctors to monitor the treatment of coronavirus patients in home isolation following reports that some of those affected are ignoring early signs of complications and opting for medical advice only after their health condition worsened, an official said on Friday.

At present there at least 97,613 COVID-19 patients in home isolation in the state, the health department official said. They are now being monitored by tele-callers employed by the state health department. National Doctor's Day 2020: West Bengal to Observe Holiday on July 1 to Honour COVID-19 Frontline Warriors.

It has been found that many patients in home isolation are ignoring the health protocols and are reaching out to the doctors only after their conditions deteriorate. So we have decided to employ more doctors to help patients in home isolation free of cost," he said.

The decision was taken at a virtual meeting between the state health department, civic administrators and representatives of health departments of Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas districts and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) there.

The IMA will start training local doctors from Saturday. The local civic bodies will prepare a list and assign each doctor one patient or a family in home isolation and continue monitoring them closely, the official said. The doctors will be in constant touch with patients to monitor their parameters. In case of any deterioration they will bring it to the notice of the local civic body and the health department, he said.

Doctors had earlier prescribed that patients in home isolation should immediately consult a medical practitioner in case their oxygen saturation level fell below 94 per cent and they experience breathlessness.

Another official said, "There is a fear psychosis which is working in the minds of the patients in home quarantine and their family members about going to the hospital. They are not informing the health department until things get out of their control.

"It has been found that people who were taken to the hospital after their conditions deteriorated could not be retrieved. So, we have to raise the awareness level of the patients in home isolation," he added.