In light of rising coronavirus cases, weekly positivity rates and declining testing numbers in Assam and West Bengal, the Center has asked state governments to conduct a review of these criteria, emphasizing the importance of strict application of appropriate behavior for COVID-19.
In a letter to the Senior Secretaries of Assam and West Bengal on October 26, Federal Ministry of Health Additional Secretary Arti Ahuja highlighted the weekly increase in new Covid cases during the previous week (20-26 October) and early signs of a positive trend over the past four weeks to 25 October.
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On October 22, Federal Health Minister Rajesh Bhushan wrote to West Bengal expressing concern over the rise in Covid cases in Kolkata, following the Durga Puja festivities earlier this month.
41% increase in new weekly cases in Assam
Ahuja, in her letter to Assam, noted that there has been a 41 per cent increase in new cases weekly since last week (20-26 October) and that there are early signs of a positivity rally since the past four weeks from 1.89 per case. In the week of September 28 – October 4 to 2.22 per cent in the week of October 19-25.
The state also saw a drop in the number of tests administered from 1,64,071 per week from September 28 to October 4 to 1,27,048 per week from October 19-25. He said that due to the increased positivity, the state needs to conduct improved testing while maintaining the required RT-PCR quota as it will help in the early identification of infection in the state.”
The additional secretary said two districts in Assam – Barpeta and Kamrup Metro – have been identified as areas of concern due to the high number of Covid cases and weekly positivity.
Kolkata and Howrah are causing concern
Similarly, in West Bengal, it said two districts – Kolkata and Howrah – were identified as districts of concern due to the high number of cases and positivity.
Ahuja pointed out that the state showed a rise of nearly 41 percent in new weekly cases since last week, 6,040 cases in the week of October 20-26 compared to 4,277 cases in the week of October 13-19, and that there are early cases. Signs of positivity increase since the past four weeks, from 1.93 per cent in the week from September 28 to October 4 to 2.39 per cent during the period from October 19 to 25. West Bengal also saw a drop in tests conducted from 262,319 during the period 28 September to 4 October to 261,515 in the week from 19 to 25 October.
Test, path, treatment: center
In the letter, she said, it has been observed that Covid cases are rising dramatically as the basic public health strategy (testing, tracing, treatment, appropriate behavior of Covid virus and vaccination) is not strictly followed. In this context, the officer stressed the monitoring of cases through appropriate implementation of containment areas, increased focus on house-to-house search for active Covid cases within these areas, strict and daily monitoring of cases subject to home isolation and referral to hospitals and strengthening contact tracing of people infected with the COVID virus. 19 and review of containment zones in Assam and West Bengal.
In addition, there should be a detailed analysis of deaths at the district and facility level, which includes reviewing the number of deaths occurring within 24 and 72 hours of admission to hospitals to resolve issues related to late hospitalization and the need for monitoring treatment practices. The letter also emphasizes strengthening the early and seamless case admission system along with a real-time public dashboard highlighting hospital or family infrastructure, strict adherence to national treatment protocols, scaling up of intensive care units, oxygen beds, state ventilator capacity and scaling. . Even test numbers, while maintaining the share of RT-PCR tests. The letter aims to cover the first dose at 100 percent for over 18 of the population along with increasing the frequency of the second dose of vaccination for the eligible population, the letter states.
As far as super distributor events and venues are concerned, there should be strict monitoring and control as per Ministry of Health Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) and testing as per Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, along with proper Covid guarantee. Behaviour: Wearing masks and social distancing should be strictly enforced. It also called for timely update of district-wide data on new cases, deaths and hospitalization status, at Covid India portal hotspots and routine submission of RT-PCR-positive samples from international travelers as well as from the community for genetic analysis in the SARS-CoV Genomics Consortium Network laboratory. 2 (INSACOG) Indian designated as per established protocols.
A rapid response team should be formed in accordance with the INSACOG Guidelines to conduct a detailed investigation of the mutations reported by INSACOG.
With input from PTI.