Tamil Nadu

‘Do not be complacent due to reports of mild COVID-19 cases’

Zeroing in:  The focus has to be on testing symptomatic persons in all settings, the Health Secretary said.

Zeroing in: The focus has to be on testing symptomatic persons in all settings, the Health Secretary said.

Raising the need to strictly adopt public health practices, including test-track-treat-vaccinate and adherence to COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to overcome the current Omicron challenge, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan urged officials not to become complacent because of initial reports of mild infections and be found wanting in preparedness.

In a communication to Collectors, Commissioner of the Greater Chennai Corporation and officials of the Health Department, he said the recent exponential spread of COVID-19 cases was attributed to the Omicron variant though cases of the Delta variant were also still being reported.

“We all need to attempt and ensure that the mortality rate is kept as low as possible during this wave. For that, we all need to keep working on preventing the spread of the disease by creating sustained awareness on mask wearing, physical distancing and handwashing. Strictly follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and focus on places of crowding, prioritising monitoring and enforcement,” he said in the communication.

There was a need to follow the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) protocols on who to test and who not to test, and this was applicable in clinical settings as well. The focus has to be on testing symptomatic persons in all settings, including contacts, extended contacts and all places irrespective of link to index cases, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

He said the ICMR and the Government of India did not advocate for the testing of asymptomatic contacts, testing at the time of discharge, including from home isolation and in clinical settings.

At the district level, COVID-19 Care Centres (CCCs) should be activated. Health teams were advised to monitor the availability of resources such as overall beds earmarked for COVID-19 patients, oxygen, beds in the intensive care units and non-oxygen beds in COVID-19 hospitals, health centres and CCCs.

There should be a check on those eligible and having facilities for home isolation. Such persons should be clinically monitored with basic tests and guided on follow-up. No one should be assigned home isolation without a basic clinical assessment and also assessment of facility for home isolation, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

He also urged officials to diligently follow up and encourage eligible persons, both unvaccinated and those overdue for the second dose, to take the jab.

He said it must be ensured that all other essential health services were not compromised during the COVID-19 wave.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 3:21:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/do-not-be-complacent-due-to-reports-of-mild-covid-19-cases/article38275968.ece