Amid the surge in daily Covid-19 cases across Mumbai, the BMC has once again decided to increase screening and monitoring of people complaining of influenza-like-illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI). Moreover, the civic body has directed all the hospital deans and doctors to notify suspected patients visiting the OPDs.
Executive health officer Dr Managala Gomare said they have been monitoring Covid cases, regularly chalking out strategies to deal with it depending on the trend. Health officials are also planning to screen the super spreaders because they come into contact with thousands of people every day.
Moreover, ILI and SARI patients need to be watched closely, considering they can also spread SARS-CoV-2 virus. “The samples will also be sent for whole genome sequencing, which will help us know if the virus is mutating further or any new variants are coming up, which can be more fatal,” she said.
Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “We have 266 centres across Mumbai, which includes all our dispensaries, major hospitals, peripheral hospitals, maternity homes. In case a patient is found positive, his relatives and close contacts will be tested for Covid-19 and the patient will be home quarantined depending on the severity of the symptoms.”
Meanwhile, the civic body has also planned to screen vegetable vendors, shopkeepers, hawkers, auto drivers, taxi drivers, BEST drivers and conductors to prevent them from becoming super spreaders. There are around 2.5 lakh people who are at a higher risk of contracting or passing it on to others. In November 2020, when the BMC had screened these high-risk people, 150 vendors were found infected with the virus within a week.
Doctors said that though the cases and severity of the disease have come down, one should continue with Covid-19 appropriate behaviour like wearing a face mask, sanitising hands and following hygiene and social distancing.