Amid rapidly rising trajectory of Covid-19 cases, the Centre has warned that the health infrastructure may get stressed due to the sudden increase in cases, advising states to augment health facilities with makeshift hospitals as well as leverage hotel rooms. The health ministry has also suggested states to constitute special teams to monitor patients in home isolation, Trend reports citing Times of India.
“It is imperative to re-emphasise the significance of timely and swift upgradation of health infrastructure in all states/UTs, ... as well as multiple VCs held by the Centre with states. This becomes more important since with the sudden increase in cases we may start seeing a stressed health infrastructure,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states and UTs on Saturday.
Maharastra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Kerala have recorded significant number of Omicron infected cases so far.
To address any potential surge in cases, Bhushan suggested the states to initiate creation of field or makeshift hospitals in coordination with DRDO and CSIR. The Centre has also asked the private sector to augment infrastructure. “This will aid the process of rapid creation of field hospitals or temporary hospital set-ups. States may also consider leveraging hotel rooms and other accommodations linked with the Covid dedicated hospitals in government and private sector to cater to patients having mild to moderate symptoms, as was also done in some states during the earlier surge in cases,” Bhushan said.
The Centre also stressed that a large number of positive cases may be eligible for home isolation as Omicron is mostly causing mild disease. However, these cases would require effective follow-up and a clearly defined mechanism for prompt shifting to a health facility in case of deterioration in their health situation.
“Special teams be constituted to monitor home isolation cases, call centres/control rooms must aid outbound calling for monitoring such patients and ensuring that all such cases be shifted to an appropriate health facility through dedicated ambulances,” the letter said.
The health ministry also asked states to put in place a mechanism where citizens can call and get ambulance and a bed in a transparent manner. Sstates have been advised to revisit the existing Covid dedicated health infrastructure and take necessary action to ensure its operational readiness.
“A clear focus on rural areas and pediatric cases must also be maintained. States need to regularly review the availability of logistics, oxygen availability and buffer stock of drugs across health facilities in the state,” Bhushan said. “Need for effective contact tracing and quarantine of contacts, including facility quarantine for high risk and comorbid contacts, shall be taken up. Sufficient number of quarantine facilities shall be planned.”