Kochi

COVID-19 vaccination to be ramped up in Ernakulam

The Ernakulam district administration will ramp up both vaccination and testing to deal with the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Daily testing will be increased to 12,000 samples, while the administration has set the vaccination target at around 30,000 doses daily. Testing will be intensified among people arriving from abroad and from other States. The decision was taken at a meeting of health officials with Ernakulam District Collector S. Suhas to evaluate the COVID-19 situation in Ernakulam.

Health officials are anticipating a surge in the coming weeks. The district has already started witnessing a spike, not just in cases, but also in the number of ICU admissions in the past one week. In an online briefing, the Collector said that test positivity rate (TPR) had risen from 5.5% on Thursday to 7.2% on Friday. “In the past two weeks, the TPR and active cases have grown in a manner that is worrisome. A two-pronged strategy of increasing testing and vaccination will be followed,” he said.

The spread of infection is clearly visible in Thrikkakara, where the situation is nearly out of control, Mr. Suhas said. There are 173 active cases in Thrikkakara. A worrisome fact is that 2.24 persons per 1,000 people are infected with COVID in the area, which is the highest figure in the district. This is followed by the Kochi Corporation area, which has 0.92 cases per 1,000 people, and 698 active cases. The Kalamassery Municipality comes third, he said.

With regard to vaccination, the Varapuzha model (where nearly all senior citizens have been vaccinated) will be replicated in other local bodies. Eligible persons will be identified in each ward for vaccination, and Health, Revenue and local body officials will work in tandem to improve coverage. Vaccination camps will be held at workplaces with more than 50 employees. The district has a population of around 11 lakh people over 45 years and of them, around 3 lakh have taken the shot.

While most people had remained asymptomatic earlier, the number of symptomatic cases is now on the rise, with 54.6% patients now showing symptoms. The ICU occupancy for COVID-19 is 33.6% (84 out of 250 ICU beds are occupied), while 25 out of 149 ventilators are in use. “If the number of cases grows at this rate, next week we could see an average of 700 to 800 cases daily, which is a worrisome trend. COVID protocol must be followed. Otherwise, the situation will worsen, and ICUs and ventilators could overflow,” Mr. Suhas said.

The 100-bed COVID facility at the Aluva District Hospital will begin functioning fully next week. “We will inform local bodies that they will have to be prepared to restart first- and second-line treatment centres that were closed earlier,” said Dr. Mathews Numpeli, district programme manager, National Health Mission. He pegs the number of cases in Thrikkakara on the large population in the area.

Thrikkakara Municipal Chairperson Ajita Thankappan said a meeting of councillors, ASHA workers, and Kudumbashree members was held on Friday to discuss the situation. Surveillance will be increased in the municipal area, and two additional vaccination camps will begin functioning from Monday onwards, she added.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 11:31:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/covid-19-vaccination-to-be-ramped-up-in-ernakulam/article34283913.ece

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