Amid rising COVID-19 cases, don’t be complacent but be active to curb spread of infection: Maharashtra health secretary to district administration

He said the COVID-19 testing which has considerably reduced despite repeated instructions should be increased immediately in all districts. He made a strong case for ramping up the RY-PCR tests with immediate effect.

Sanjay JogUpdated: Friday, June 03, 2022, 09:50 PM IST
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Amid rising COVID-19 cases, don’t be complacent but be active to curb spread of infection: Maharashtra health secretary to district administration | FP PHOTO

In the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, the public health additional chief secretary Pradeep Vyas has asked civic and district administration to take steps to keep the rising number of cases under control and keep hospital admission to a minimum.

Vyas' letter came hours after union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan raised an alarm over rising COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and asked the state to keep a strict watch and take pre-emptive action to curb the emerging spread of infection.

Vyas said the COVID-19 testing which has considerably reduced despite repeated instructions should be increased immediately in all districts. He made a strong case for ramping up the RY-PCR tests with immediate effect.

In the wake of the detection of patients with BA4 and BA 5 sub-variants, Vyas said the administration needs to be warned against any complacency. ‘’Carry out periodic analysis of new positive cases with respect to time, place and person so a localised action pan can be carved out. Keep track of the overall clinical spectrum of cases and analyse the proportion of breakthrough infection and reinfection cases periodically,’’ said Vyas.

Vyas asked the district collectors, municipal commissioners and CEOs of Zilla Parishads to prepare inventory based on presumption that the active cases will reach the number as in third wave (January and February 2022) and presume about 5% of these active cases will need admission in hospitals. ‘’We should have a ready inventory to this extent and based on the trend of new cases in the next 10 days and how the new cases behave we should be in a position to rapidly scale it up, if necessary,’’ he noted.

In case of Genomic Sequencing, Vyas said the appropriate number of samples need to be referred for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to the identified INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics or Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium) laboratory, in coordination with the district level officers is a key.

According to Vyas, people should be informed to get themselves tested for COVID-19 if they have fever and signs of respiratory infection. Further, masking in closed public spaces like trains, buses, cinemas, auditoriums, offices, hospitals, colleges and schools is a must.

Moreover, Vyas has asked the civic and district administration to increase the pace of COVID-19 vaccination as it reduces hospitalisation and potential deaths significantly. ‘’Communities, where vaccine hesitancy is high, should be prioritised for awareness campaigns, specifically using interpersonal communication methods, Precaution dose should be promoted and expedited. COVID-19 vaccination cover in the young population of 12-18 years needs to be improved,’’ he said.

Vyas said a close eye on population mobility, potentially major spreading events and special attention to ILI AND SARI surveillance is a must. ‘’It is important for districts to take preemptive action as and when required to control any potential spread of the infection based on insights obtained from data,’’ he added.

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