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States with surge in COVID cases urged to return to “Test, Track and Treat”
New Delhi, March 6, 2021
All the States with a surge in daily new COVID cases and high active caseloads have been urged to return to the fundamentals of “Test, Track and Treat.”
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Dr Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog today interacted with Health Secretaries and MDs (NHM) of Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the Union Territories (UTs) of Delhi and Chandigarh.
These States/UTs have in the recent past seen increased positivity and an increased number of daily positive cases. They reviewed the ongoing public health measures of surveillance, containment and management of COVID cases in wake of the steep rise in daily new cases and the high number of active caseloads being reported from these eight States/UTs.
In a detailed presentation, it was pointed out that 9 districts in Delhi, 15 in Haryana, 10 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Odisha, 9 in Himachal Pradesh, 7 in Uttarakhand, 2 in Goa and 1 in Chandigarh continue to be of concern as these districts are seeing a decrease in total tests being conducted, low share of RT-PCR tests, increase in weekly positivity and a low number of contact tracing of the COVID positive cases.
These together could pose a high risk of transmission to the neighbouring States and UTs. Granular analysis of the COVID response in the districts was shared with the States/UTs for further action.
The States were specifically asked to continue with the effective strategy of "Test Track & Treat" that had yielded rich dividends at the height of the pandemic. They were directed to Improve overall testing in districts reporting a reduction in testing. The states should increase the share of RT-PCR tests in districts dependent on high levels of antigen testing.
An official press release said the states were told that they should once again focus on surveillance and stringent containment of those areas in selected districts that are seeing a cluster of cases. The states should carry out an average close contact tracing of a minimum of 20 persons per positive case.
According to it, the states need to focus on clinical management in districts reporting higher deaths. They should actuate their health infrastructure to provide effective clinical management to all the patients as a surge in cases also affects the case fatality rate in those districts. The states should accelerate vaccination for priority population groups in districts reporting higher cases.
They need to make optimal use of the available vaccine doses and focus on critical districts. They should collaborate with the private hospitals to open up vaccination time-table for a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 28 days at a time.
The states and UTs should Promote COVID-appropriate behaviour through communication and enforcement. Stress was laid on prompt isolation and medical supervision of those active cases presently in home isolation for early identification of progressive deterioration of the disease. The states were also asked to watch out for super-spreading events and share their best practices in breaking the chain of transmission, the release added.