Tamil Nadu

Jump in cases prompts govt. to step up efforts in districts

J. Radhakrishnan

J. Radhakrishnan  

Fresh COVID-19 infections may have fallen in the city in the past few days, but the situation remains grim in many districts. With the surge in cases in Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Tiruvannamalai and Vellore, the Health Department is stepping up surveillance of Influenza Like Illness and testing.

While Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur and, to some extent, Kancheepuram have been witnessing a high number of cases along with Chennai, there has been a sudden surge in Madurai, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore, Ranipet, Ramanathapuram, Villupuram, Thoothukudi and Virudhunagar in the past few weeks.

Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said these districts were directed to strive for bringing positivity rate to below 10%. “This should be done by focussing on 100% containment measures, and covering cases identified through fever camps,” he said. The Department has increased the testing capacity in these districts. “Around two lakh RT-PCR test kits were recently moved to districts. Of these, more kits were provided for districts that are witnessing a surge in cases,” an official said. With this, the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation has 2.24 lakh RT-PCR testing kits, while 2.7 lakh kits are with hospitals as of now. An order was placed last week for 10 lakh more kits, he added.

Prabhdeep Kaur, scientist E/deputy director of the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Epidemiology, underscored the need to increase surveillance and testing in districts recording an increase in cases. “There should be restrictions on public transport, gatherings, and the need to promote the use of masks. There has to be rigorous data analysis to identify hotspots...,” she said.

Experts said Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Madurai, Ramanathauram and Tiruvannamalai should be closely monitored.

An official of the Directorate of Public and Preventive Medicine said surveillance, early identification of cases and containment measures were important to break the chain of transmission. “We are tightening surveillance of Influenza Like Illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection cases. We are taking containment measures and concentrating on contact-tracing,” he said.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 3:25:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/jump-in-cases-prompts-govt-to-step-up-efforts-in-districts/article32017421.ece

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