COVID-19 hospitalisations at 5-10%, situation evolving: govt.
The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has urged States to keep a watch on the active COVID-19 caseload with the country currently witnessing a hospitalisation rate of 5-10%.
Also on Monday, India started administering a third “precaution” dose of COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare and frontline workers, and people over the age of 60 with co-morbidities.
In his letter, Mr. Bhushan termed the COVID-19 situation as dynamic and evolving, with the possibility of the need for hospitalisation changing rapidly. He has directed States to keep a watch on oxygen and ICU beds, and ventilator support besides monitoring the requirement of healthcare workers and their availability on a daily basis.
He added that the current rise in cases appears to be driven by the Variant of Concern (VoC) Omicron and the continued presence of VoC Delta across the country.
Third dose roll-out
On the first day of the “precaution doses” for the identified categories of beneficiaries, more than nine lakh doses were administered till 7 p.m., the Ministry said in a release.
Earlier in the day, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed the public health preparedness and reiterated the importance of the Test, Track, Treat, Vaccinate protocol and adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour. Health Ministers and officials of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, Dadra and Nagra Haveli and Daman and Diu participated in the meeting.
The Minister also advised States to regularly review health infrastructure strengthening, establish tele-consultation hubs in every district.
Reiterating that the Centre is dedicated to supporting States in containing the pandemic, Dr. Mandaviya said the Centre had provided support under Emergency COVID Response Plan (ECRP)-II for strengthening the health infrastructure nationwide.
He urged States to prepare physical infrastructure and efficiently utilise the funds under ECRP-II and asked the State Health Ministers to review the implementation of the Plan.
At the meeting, it was suggested that the operational status of infrastructure such as beds, PSA plants and oxygen equipment, be filled in by States on the national portal.
“They must be operationalised and kept in functional state. It was emphasised that for real time data-driven analysis and information-based decisions in the fight against COVID, States should update their respective data on the monitoring portals. This would help in planning and assessing preparedness,” said the Ministry release.
Review buffer stocks, States told
States have also been told to review the buffer stock of essential medicines and ensure the shortages, if any, are replenished through timely purchase orders. The Minister advised the States to increase vaccination of all eligible populations, especially in low vaccination coverage areas/districts.
Stating that vaccination against COVID results in low hospitalisation and severity, as is seen globally, he emphasised on administration of ‘precaution dose’ for the identified categories and urged the States to ensure full coverage of the vulnerable population while asking to expedite full coverage of the eligible age group of 15-18 years at the earliest.
“States have been told to re-invigorate their teams to work at the ground level and strengthen monitoring and containment mechanisms besides being advised to hold regular meetings with regional officers of ICMR, NCDC, Airport Public Health Officers (APHOs) and the State Surveillance Officers,” noted the release.
Meanwhile, speaking at an interaction on Twitter about home isolation amid a rise in Omicron cases, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said the government is making efforts in terms of management of COVID-19 and people’s cooperation is very important to fight the pandemic.