Changing its strategy, the Odisha government on Wednesday announced the setting up of COVID Care Homes (CCHs) in all the 6,798 gram panchayats of the State to fight the pandemic in the coming days.
Each of the CCHs will have facilities for the stay of 10 to 20 persons, and all put together they can accommodate about 70,000 people. Patients with symptoms of cold, cough and fever will be kept in these facilities instead of being taken straight to a hospital. Those testing positive for COVID-19 will be shifted to a hospital.
In order to decentralise its COVID-19 management, the State government further announced the setting up of ward level committees in both urban and rural areas to monitor the situation and extend help to anyone testing positive.
The ward level COVID-19 management committee in rural areas will have the ward member, auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) and ASHA workers, and members of local women’s self help groups as its members, and village welfare committees will manage its functioning. These committees will be given special powers under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and have the power to spend up to ₹10,000 each.
In urban areas, the ward committees will be managed by ward officers, with local people and volunteers as members to monitor the situation. These committees will also set up CCHs in large slum clusters.
‘In better position’
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who made these announcements, termed every person a fighter against COVID-19 and urged people to take special care of the elderly persons and children below 10 years of age.
Stating that Odisha was in a better position than other States, Mr. Patnaik said that the State has set up special COVID-19 hospitals where about 10,000 beds are available with ICU facilities for critical patients. The State also has trained manpower and there is sufficient medical equipment to deal with the situation, he said.
Meanwhile, 175 more COVID-19 cases were detected, taking Odisha’s total to 4,338 on Wednesday. Active cases stood at 1,277, while 3,047 persons had recovered and 14 had died — 11 fatalities were caused by the coronavirus, and three by other ailments.
The State government had set up 16,815 temporary medical centres at the gram panchayat level across the State, with a total of 7,62,345 beds. Many of these centres have been closed as the number of returning migrant workers is declining by the day.