‘Take measures in view of rise in COVID-19 cases’

Health officials asked to take action

Noting the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases on a week to week basis, the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has instructed all Deputy Directors of Health Services (DDHS) and the City Health Officer of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to ensure that public and private health facilities are equipped, guidelines are strictly enforced and that the contact tracing exercise is done within 72 hours of diagnosis.

In a circular issued to the officials on April 2, Director of Public Health (DPH) T.S. Selvavinayagam said as per the daily reports collected from districts by the State emergency operations control rooms, cases were rising exponentially on a week to week basis. From 9,066 cases last week, cases had risen to 15,233 this week

Though cases were continuously rising throughout the country, the rate of growth of positive cases was higher than the earlier surge, he said.

Preventive measures

Cases were increasing not only in urban areas but also in tier-2 cities and rural areas, Mr. Selvavinayagam said. Unlike the initial stage of the pandemic, the control and preventive measures were known to everyone and vaccines were also available. But reluctance in following the same and laxity may lead to a worse scenario than the earlier stage, he added.

Reiterating the guidelines, he said the waiting time for test results should be reduced to less than 24 hours and all possible contacts of positive patients should be traced at the rate of 25 to 30 per positive case.

As far as the isolation of patients were concerned, he said home isolation should be permitted and should be regularly monitored by designated officials. Patients in home isolation or COVID-19 Care Centres should be immediately transferred to COVID-19 hospitals if the symptoms aggravate, Mr. Selvavinayagam said.

Adequate number of functional ambulance services should also be ensured, he added.

Number of beds

Mr. Selvavinayagam said the number of beds, oxygen beds and ventilator/intensive care unit beds should be increased by forecasting the requirement. The increase in cases would proportionally increase the number of deaths in the coming days, he added. The officials were told to take all possible steps and follow standard treatment protocol to prevent mortality.

Irrespective of variants, the effective way to prevent the infection was to follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks, maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet and maintaining hand hygiene. Special focus should be given to high risk areas such as market places, religious places, cultural congregations and election campaigns, he said.

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