By Ashish Srivastava
New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) The Union Health Ministry on Saturday directed 13 districts including Delhi, which reported 14 per cent of the COVID-19 death toll, to advance the preparedness for critical clinical infrastructure in their hospitals.
These districts, which also account for nine per cent of the total active cases, were asked to ensure availability of ICU beds, oxygen supply etc. after assessment of the current caseload and the estimated growth rate.
The directions came in a meeting held between top officials of the health ministry and district officers of the thirteen districts.
The districts which have been given the directions to ramp up the ICU beds, oxygen supply etc. are Kamrup Metro in Assam; Patna in Bihar; Ranchi in Jharkhand; Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala; Ganjam in Odisha; Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh; 24 Paraganas North, Hooghly, Howrah, Kolkata and Maldah in West Bengal; and Delhi.
As per the ministry officials, these districts also reported low tests per million and high confirmation percentage, especially Lucknow, Kamrup Metro, Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha. A surge has been observed in the daily new cases in these four districts, the officials added.
Several issues critical to reducing case fatality rate were discussed during the meeting in view of incidents reported from a few districts where patients died within 48 hours of admission to the hospitals.
“They were advised to ensure timely referral and hospitalization while ensuring the availability of ambulances with zero tolerance for refusal,” the statement by the health ministry read.
The states were advised to address several issues leading to a high rate of mortality and active COVID-19 cases. The issues of low lab utilisation, i.e. less than 100 tests per day for RT-PCR and 10 for others; low tests per million population; decrease in absolute tests from last week; delay in test results; and high confirmation percentage among the health care workers were also addressed, the officials added.
The health ministry officials also emphasized the need to ensure monitoring asymptomatic cases under home isolation with particular focus on physical visits/phone consultation daily.
Besides, the ministry reiterated to state authorities to attend the virtual sessions by AIIMS, New Delhi, which happen twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays where a specialist team of doctors guides about effective clinical management of COVID-19 patients in the ICUs through tele/video consultation.
“It will help to reduce the case fatality rate,” the direction read. The State authorities were advised to ensure that State Centers of Excellence and other hospitals participate in these virtual sessions regularly to improve clinical practices.