Puducherry

Expert team suggests aggressive COVID-19 surveillance in hotspots in Puducherry

Photograph used for representational purposes only   | Photo Credit: T. Singaravelou

Aggressive door-to-door search for symptomatic individuals, including anyone with a loss of taste and sore throat to identify COVID-19 infected patients, scaling up testing, and establishing frequent camps at hotspots were some of the suggestions given by an expert team to the Health Department to contain the growing spread of novel coronavirus disease cases in the Union Territory.

A team from ICMR’s National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, after a two-day visit to Puducherry on Thursday submitted a report detailing steps to be taken by the territorial administration.

The experts advised mandatory quarantine of all contacts for 14 days and involving private clinics/hospitals in identifying symptomatic patients. The team suggested aggressive door-to-door detection of symptomatic individuals in streets or areas reporting a high number of active cases.

Instead of symptomatic patients self-reporting to Public Health Centres in hotspots, the government should deploy more teams to detect patients through door-to-door visits and conduct regular camps in such areas. The team found that camps are not conducted regularly in hospots. Private clinics and hospitals could also be involved in identifying symptomatic individuals, the report said.

Currently, patients with symptoms of fever, cough, breathlessness, anosmia (loss of smell) and Sp02<94 (oxygen saturation level) are only tested for COVID-19, the team said urging the Health Department to also test patients with sore throats and loss of taste.

Pointing out that currently 5 labs are conducting about 1,200 RT-PCR tests per day, the team wanted the government to scale up testing to 3,000 per day. The health care centres should consider conducting more antigen tests, the report said.

The Department should consider setting up more satellite centres at the community level, and deploy mobile teams to collect samples. The team also requested doubling oxygen bed capacity and reserving a fixed proportion of total bed capacity for COVID- 19 patients in all private medical colleges, the report said.

Dedicated manpower should be made available for contact tracing and strict monitoring of quarantined people. People who have come in contact with a COVID-19 patient should be quarantined for 14 days, the report said.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 1:50:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/expert-team-suggests-aggressive-covid-19-surveillance-in-hotspots-in-puducherry/article32463221.ece

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