Union Health Secretary engages with Health Secretaries of 6 States/UT exhibiting high surge of cases

New Delhi, September 7, 2020

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan held a review meeting on Sunday with the Health Secretaries of five States and a Union Territory that are having a high surge in COVID patients, caseload and fatalities.

The States were exhorted to undertake stringent containment measures and full utilization of RT-PCR Testing to curb the chain of transmission and bring the mortality below 1% in 35 districts under their jurisdiction.

These 35 districts comprise Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and 24 South Parganas in West Bengal; Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban, Kolhapur, Sangli, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Raigad, Jalgaon, Solapur, Satara, Palghar, Aurangabad, Dhule and Nanded in Maharashtra; Surat in Gujarat; Pondicherry in Puducherry; East Singhbhum in Jharkhand; and all 11 districts in Delhi.

The Health Ministry has been proactively monitoring the trajectory of the COVID pandemic and has been undertaking impactful interactions with the concerned State/UT authorities to guide the administration of districts exhibiting a surge in the COVID cases and having high active caseload and fatality rates to improve their management of the crisis.

In addition to the State Health Secretaries, District Collectors, Municipal Commissioners and other functionaries of the affected districts also participated in the digital meeting.

Addressing the participants, Bhushan underscored the need to suppress, curb and eventually break the chain of transmission of the infectious disease by strengthening the active case search focusing on the co-morbid and elderly population; revisiting and strengthening the containment measures in the affected areas; and scaling up the testing to decrease the positivity rates below 5%.

The State Health Secretaries presented a detailed analysis of the current status of Covid-19 in these districts. They covered the aspects of containment measures, contact tracing, surveillance activities, facility-wise case fatality rates, trends in terms of weekly new cases and deaths, etc. They also discussed the detailed roadmaps and action plans for the next month.

Details in terms of split of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests conducted in the district, re-testing percentage of symptomatic negatives from Antigen tests, testing lab utilization, hospitalization status and bed occupancies of oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds and ventilator etc., were also shared with the Centre.

The States/UT were advised to take steps on limiting the spread of the infection by implementing stringent containment measures and following social distancing measures; strict perimeter control and active house-to-house case search; Early identification by ramping up testing across the districts; Optional utilization of RT-PCR testing capacity; Effective monitoring of home isolation cases and early hospitalization in case of disease progression; Seamless hospitalization and early admission for patients requiring medical support, especially in cases of the co-morbid and elderly population.

They were also advised to follow effective infection control measures in hospitals to safeguard healthcare workers from contracting the infection.

The District Collectors and other functionaries should prepare and update district-specific plans to continue their efforts to manage the pandemic with the same rigour.


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