Panchayat makes turnaround in COVID management

Even as the COVID-19 test positivity rate (TPR) continues to hover around 10% in Ernakulam, Poothrikka panchayat in Kunnathunadu Assembly constituency has brought it down below 3%, arguably the lowest across the district.

Reigning in the spread of the pandemic was all the more commendable considering that at one point it had the fourth highest TPR in the district.

The panchayat had 25 active cases earlier this week, which was 428 in April, 569 in May, and 173 in June with a TPR of 87%, 66%, and 22% respectively. In July, TPR came down from 5.84% to as low as 1.98% this week, while as per the district-wise consolidated figure from last week, the panchayat posted a low TPR of 2.47%.

“We launched a targeted effort from May-end and deployed two teams for exhaustive tracing and testing. While one team was deployed at the fever clinic at our primary health centre, the outreach team visited areas where greater spread of the disease was suspected. Rather than random testing to show an acceptable TPR, we identified and tested the symptomatic and their contacts who were religiously tracked down,” said Adarsh Radhakrishnan, medical officer.

The team visited shops, companies, and even offices of traders’ associations, which were considered vulnerable, for testing. While the panchayat is conducting antigen tests compared to the more reliable RT-PCR, that lacuna is being made up by sending those with symptoms, despite testing negative in antigen tests, for RT-PCR tests at three government hospitals in the neighbourhood.

“The panchayat also introduced two programmes — doctor@doorstep and You Call and We Care. While under the first, a doctor visited infected patients for direct interactions, a panel of 14 doctors residing in the panchayat were empanelled for tele-medicine service under the other programme. These two services also played a significant role in reigning in the pandemic,” said K.K. Sajeev, junior health inspector, Poothrikka.

Far from turning complacent, the panchayat remains determined to continue the prevailing tracing and tracking at least till August-end to keep the pandemic in a tight leash.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 9:00:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/panchayat-makes-turnaround-in-covid-management/article35389198.ece

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