Dreadful sense of déjà vu all over again for health staff

Safety first: Police personnel in Sangareddy distributing masks to vehicle users stepping out of home without a mask, on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: MOHD ARIF

Amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus, vigil has been stepped up in the State, transporting the Health department staff back to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They are back on the task of keeping track of people arriving here from at-risk countries, collecting their addresses and phone numbers. The staff have to enquire about the health status of incoming air passengers and conduct tests on those under home quarantine.

A similar procedure was followed during the first wave as part of surveillance and such measures have been reactivated following detection of Omicron variant, said to be more contagious, in a few countries. Besides the vigil, COVID vaccination is among the top priorities of the Health department.

Arrival protocol

Currently, all passengers arriving in the city from other countries have to undergo RT-PCR tests. They cannot leave the airport premises until they receive the results. If a flier tests positive, he/she will be directly sent in an ambulance to the State-run Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), Gachibowli, for isolation. If case of a negative result, they have to quarantine at home.

Health staff have to conduct another round of tests on passengers in home quarantine on the eighth day since arrival.

If they test negative again, they have to quarantine for another seven days.

“Our health staff have the addresses and phone numbers of the suspected patients and will stay in touch with them. Samples for tests will be collected from their home on the eighth day,” said an official of the Health department.

This is being done for early detection and isolation of the patients with coronavirus. Samples will be collected from COVID-positive persons to further probe if they have Omicron variant.

So far, 13 samples of those tested positive at the city airport have been sent for genome sequencing to check for Omicron variant.

The Health department officials and staff have also been tasked with keeping track of admissions in government as well as private hospitals to observe if it has anything to do with COVID infection. Consumption of oxygen is another parameter to gauge a spike in coronavirus cases.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 12:32:43 AM |

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