‘COVID-19 cases stabilising in Madurai’

Door-to-door surveillance and aggressive testing have helped in identifying cases early: Monitoring Officer

July 18, 2020 07:47 pm | Updated July 19, 2020 03:05 am IST - Madurai

B. Chandra Mohan.

B. Chandra Mohan.

COVID-19 cases in Madurai district are stabilising and further work needs to be done to achieve a declining trend, said District Monitoring Officer for COVID-19 B. Chandra Mohan.

Speaking to The Hindu , he said with the relaxation of lockdown norms, fever surveillance would be intensified and healthcare facilities would be monitored to ramp up the capacity. “With relaxation of norms, there will be more public movement. We are trying to convert the awareness of mask use, frequent hand wash and practising social distancing to create a behavioural change. Commissioner of Police, Madurai City, and Superintendent of Police, Madurai Rural, are coming up with a plan for stricter enforcement of safety precautions,” he said, He said all private hospitals have been instructed to resume operations to treat COVID-19 patients as well as those with other ailments. “It was found that around 120 private hospitals were shut. Some were treating asymptomatic or mild symptomatic patients but declining service to those with severe symptoms. Some were collecting higher charges. We have shared the protocol for home isolation and asked them to adopt it extensively,” he said.

When asked about death rate, Dr. Chandra Mohan said that it was incorrect to say that death rate in Madurai is higher than in Chennai. “The fatality rate in Madurai is 1.5 to 1.7 whereas in Chennai it is 1.4 to 1.5. The marginal increase can be attributed to delayed referral of cases from nearby districts,” he said. At similar points in the epidemic curve, death rate in Madurai and Chennai is nearly the same. He said the intensified lockdown implemented in parts of the district helped to bring the positivity rate from as high as 16% to 7% to 8% now. Door-to-door surveillance, identification of symptomatic persons, aggressive testing and isolation of cases have helped in identifying cases early on. “Initially, on an average 1,500 tests were taken and now around 4,500 to 5,000 tests are taken everyday,” he said.

The complete lockdown helped in improving healthcare facilities. The number of beds available at COVID care centres were increased from 2,045 to 4,000. A total of 450 beds were prepared for health centres. Beds at Government Rajaji Hospital were increased to 1,461 to treat severe and moderate cases. “It was found that more patients required oxygen support and the number of beds with oxygen supply at GRH was nearly doubled to 612. Oxygen supply will be given to 400 additional beds at GRH within the next 10 days,” he said.

Out of a total of 250 beds at Government Hospital for Thoracic Medicine in Thoppur, there are 50 beds with oxygen supply. It would be increased to 200, he added.

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