Amid Covid 3rd wave concerns for Kids- Punjab CM orders mission mode preparedness
Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in
Amid projections and concerns of a possible third wave of Covid and its impact on children, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered the Health Department to go into mission mode with preparation, which will include specialised training of all doctors in the Health Department by the end of June, while directing house-to-house surveillance to control the current spread of the disease in the rural areas.
Reviewing the Covid situation in the state during a virtual meeting, the Chief Minister directed the state expert group head Dr KK Talwar to look into all aspects of medical education, and to get training modules prepared for the Health Department. He underlined the need to ensure that all Medical Officers in the state are trained to deal with Covid, especially in children.
Expressing concern over the spread of Covid in rural areas, the Chief Minister directed that teams of Health and other departments immediately start house-to-house surveillance in every village. The teams should be equipped to give basic medicines without delay, and RAT testing of symptomatic persons must be got done at the earliest, he said. He also directed that some CHCs in each district be prepared as L2 facilities, with oxygen concentrators and doctors with proper treatment protocols.
Stressing the importance of involving Sarpanches in this exercise, the Chief Minister ordered their prioritisation, along with that of Panches, as well as Block Samiti and Zila Parishad Chairmen and members, in vaccination. The Police Department must also provide support, especially through their Village Police Officers, he added.
The Chief Minister directed the concerned officials to take strict action against private hospitals overcharging Covid patients and said they should also be made to refund the payments received. He asked DCs to coordinate with the Health Department to track all such complaints. The private hospitals should be asked to display the official rate prominently, and the same should be widely publicized, he stressed.
Captain Amarinder expressed satisfaction at the measures taken by the Control Room for Oxygen, in support with district administration, to manage the situation and prevent any mishap due to oxygen shortage. He lauded the officers stationed at Bokaro, Hazira etc. in ensuring this, while directing the Health Department to continuously pursue with the Centre the issue of Oxygen shortfall, which stands at 700 MT, as well as tankers. He expressed gratitude to HMEL for assisting the state with 4 oxygen tankers, which are expected to arrive within the next few days. Markfed has starting working with the Railways to run Oxygen trains, and 4 such trips have already been made both from Hazira and from Bokaro, he said, congratulating all the civil and police department officers for their excellent work.
Taking note of the fact that some hospitalised patients need oxygen support for a few days after discharge, the Chief Minister asked the Health Department to allow their 5 litre per minute concentrators to be used for this purpose on temporary loan basis. He also asked the department to set up bank of Oxygen concentrators for this purpose, besides establishing Post Covid Care wards in civil hospitals.
While the cases and positivity in the state had shown a decline over the past one week, there was no scope for laxity, the Chief Minister stressed, directing the police to strictly enforce all restrictions, taking the cooperation of urban and local body leaders also in this effort.
DGP Dinkar Gupta said the enforcement drive was being strictly carried out, which had made people also more cautious now. Since March 19, a total of 25 lakh violations had been registered, with 1.31 lakhs challans and Rs 12 crores collected in fine, while 2600 violators had been taken to open jails for detention, he said. Thikri pheras were being held in 60% of the villages to control the entry and exit of people, he said, assuring the meeting of improved coverage in the new few days.
Health Minister Balbir Sidhu suggested establishment of Rapid Response Teams and involvement of RMP doctors in monitoring in the rural areas to check the spread of the cases.
Medical Education Secretary DK Tiwari that the positivity rate during May 2-8 week stood at 18.5% but had since declined. The bed situation was currently comfortable, and Oxygen supplies in Amritsar had been increased from 6 KL to 11 KL, he disclosed. On testing, he said that in the last one week, 2.13 lakh RTPCR tests had been conducted, with average testing time of a little over 7 hours per test. Sharing details of the various regular health staff recruitments done, he said 108 Senior Residents had bene issued appointment letters, while 86 Nurses, 8 Lab Technicians, 9 Radiographers, 2 Perfusionists, 2 Optometrists, and 1 Audiologist would be appointed within a week, and more vacancies had been advertised. Outsourced staff had also been deployed in various hospitals/centres/labs, he said, adding that the Army was currently helping in running 84 beds in Patiala, and will also be managing the makeshift hospitals in Mohali and Bathinda.
Health Secretary Hussan Lal said the cumulative positivity on 19th May stood at 6.2%, with Mohali and Malwa regions continuing to show high numbers.
Dr KK Talwar, who heads the state’s Covid Expert Group, said to ensure that the cases continue to decline, the current restrictions should be followed for the next 2-3 weeks. He disclosed that while the genome sequencing of the March samples had shown 96% UK variant, only one double mutant case was found in the April samples. Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said results of the samples sent for genome sampling in April and May were still pending.