Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in a letter to to states and union territories on Monday, said in order to bring uniformity, the need for following the existing framework for either imposition of restrictions or allowing relaxations based on the burden of disease and strain on healthcare infrastructure still remain important.
Bhushan had also shared a list of targeted actions that need to be implemented by the states which include monitoring of cases with districts as administrative units on a regular basis and taking necessary action for containment and health infrastructure upgradation.
Higher case positivity would imply the need for stringent containment
In the letter he said, case positivity calculated based on total positive cases vis-a-vis samples tested during the week is one of the prime indicators of the spread of infection in a district.
Higher case positivity would imply the need for stringent containment and restrictions so as to control the spread of infection, he noted.
Similarly, he said each district needs to analyse bed occupancy vis-a-vis the available health infrastructure to ensure that it doesn’t get overwhelmed and seamless patient admission and follow-up can be done.
“Higher bed occupancy is an indicator that the district needs to undertake specific measures to upgrade the available beds while focusing on containment activities equally vigorously.”
Districts with lower positivity rate may have higher degree of relaxations
For prioritizing districts which need intensive follow-up, states and UTs may identify districts which require the highest level of restrictions while the remaining districts may be allowed higher degree of relaxations based on lower weekly case positivity or a relatively low bed occupancy rates, he said in the letter.
“District with high weekly case positivity or a high bed occupancy would need intensive monitoring, and thus the health ministry asked the states to consider appointing a senior officer from the state headquarter as the nodal officer for these districts.”
Restrictions once imposed will remain in force for a minimum period of 14 days.
Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate, adherence to COVID-Appropriate Behaviour
Noting that COVID-19 pandemic is still a challenge, Bhushan asked the states and UTs to continue working on five pillars of its management: “Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to COVID-Appropriate Behaviour.”
In addition to following clinical management protocol, the states should focus on upgradation of health infrastructure, timely commissioning of PSA oxygen plants in hospitals, adequate planning for availability of medical oxygen, availability of logistics, maintaining buffer stock of drugs and taking up necessary action for creation /redesigning of appropriate Covid-dedicated healthcare infrastructure, especially in peri-urban, rural, and tribal areas, the letter said.
He also underlined the need for upskilling/reskilling of human resources on the latest clinical management protocol and stressed that an effective planning for vaccination focusing on prompt coverage of priority groups and hubs of economic activity should be prioritized.
“COVID-19 management can succeed only through a whole of government, whole of society approach,” Bhushan said.
“Community engagement is critical and adherence to Covid-appropriate behavior is crucial to guard against any surge infection. This involves diligent use of masks/face covers, following physic distancing (2 gaj ki doori) and practising respiratory and hand hygiene,” he said in the letter
(With inputs from agencies)
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