Dedicated Omicron treatment facilities in State soon

Gearing up to handle a possible outbreak of Omicron, Karnataka Government is planning to set up dedicated facilities in hospitals with adequate infrastructure and required medicines.

The State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that recommended a slew of measures in the wake of growing concern has said that a dedicated Omicron treatment facility should be established at the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College and Research Institute. “Later, when necessary, a similar facility should be activated at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD),” stated the TAC report submitted to Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar on Tuesday.

“All symptomatic/suspected cases of COVID-19 from the airport should be admitted separately in these dedicated facilities,” the report stated. The TAC recommended that the State should reconstitute the clinical expert committee to advise the government regarding treatment protocols. Accordingly, Mr. Sudhakar announced that a new 10-member clinical expert panel led by Ravi K., head of the department of medicine in Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) would be set up. This committee was earlier headed by former V-C of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) S. Sachidananda. “We are considering reintroducing the use of technology such as Quarantine App, telemedicine facilities to monitor patient care,” Mr. Sudhakar said.

No shutting schools

Asserting that there was no need to press the panic button and close schools and colleges now, TAC recommended that classes should be conducted in hybrid mode as far as possible with strict COVID-19 appropriate behaviour protocol. “This recommendation should be revisited when Omicron is reported in the State,” the report said.

Also, in view of recent clusters reported in boarding schools, medical, and paramedical colleges, TAC said the State should strictly and mandatorily follow COVID containment norms such as declaring such schools and colleges “containment zones” and take suitable public health measures there.

TAC, which had earlier recommended that 10% of the daily tests conducted in the State should be on children, now said 5% of school children should be tested in a week. The reports should be sent to the Department of Public Instruction, the report said. Besides, the Health Department should take up fortnightly testing of students and teachers in colleges and high schools, staff of hotels and restaurants, shopkeepers of malls and shopping lanes, shopkeepers in markets, catering staff, and door delivery personnel and so on, the report said.

‘Reintroduce restrictions in public places’

Recommending reintroduction of curbs on public congregations, TAC said a gathering of up to 500 persons can be allowed in events held outdoors and not more than 200 indoors. These restrictions should be strictly implemented in all social, religious, and political events. Marshals and police should be roped in for strict enforcement, the report stated.

Besides, enhanced CCTV surveillance with public announcements on correct wearing of face masks should be made in malls, bus stands, and railway stations, the report pointed out.

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Printable version | May 23, 2022 11:26:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/dedicated-omicron-treatment-facilities-in-state-soon/article37779845.ece