Kuttampuzha records remarkable turnaround, brings down TPR below 7%

The tribal Kuttampuzha panchayat along the eastern suburbs of Ernakulam district has managed a remarkable turnaround, bringing down the COVID-19 test positivity rate (TPR) from nearly 65% at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic to below 7%.

Notwithstanding the high TPR during the height of the second wave, the panchayat accounted for just 12 fatalities, and they did not include even a single tribal person. The panchayat has a population of 26,946 of which 4,315 are tribespersons.

The high rate of vaccination probably protected the tribal community. Around 81% of the tribal population have already received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 8% have received the second jab.

The number of active cases in the panchayat now stands at 38 compared to 360 on June 2. More than 100 positive cases were reported during a single camp held at the Kunjipara tribal hamlet during the height of the second wave.

“We found clusters in tribal colonies at Kunjipara, Thalavechupara, Pera, and Variyath probably after the community came together for rituals. We moved them on a war footing to 10 domicile care centres, including those in our panchayat and neighbouring panchayats and Kothamangalam Municipality,” said Kuttampuzha panchayat president Kanthi Vellakkayyin.

Though the panchayat’s three ambulances were pushed into service, private vehicles and those of the Forest Department had to be roped in to traverse the inhospitable terrain of tribal hamlets. The panchayat, which witnessed severe restrictions, including a complete lockdown for days together, has now more or less returned to normality with no area under lockdown.

The panchayat has now turned its attention to vaccination in three age categories of over 60 years, over 45 years, and between 18 and 44 years. Around 29% of the 60-year-olds and above has received the first dose and 9% the second dose. The figure is 24% and 6% and 9% and 9% for the categories of 45 years and above and between 18 and 44 years respectively.

Though the panchayat has opened up vaccination for all age groups, priority remains on full coverage of those above 60 years.

“We have drawn up an action plan to conduct an intense nine-day campaign across eight regions to vaccinate nearly 5,500 people aged above 45 years. Each region will have multiple vaccination centres where multiple sessions will be held by roping in nursing staff provided by the panchayat and the Health Department. The implementation of the plan though depends on the availability of vaccines,” said Anoop Thulasi, Medical Officer, Family Health Centre, Kuttampuzha.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 9:04:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kuttampuzha-records-remarkable-turnaround-brings-down-tpr-below-7/article35101507.ece

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