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Punjab Chief Minister Expands Contact Tracing Of COVID-19 Positive Patients To 15 People, Makes RT-PCR Rule

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh directed 24×7 testing facility to be made available at district hospitals; all fever cases, and other symptomatic coming to health facilities to be tested with RT-PCR, and all patients attending the flu corners to be tested with RT-PCR

Punjab Chief Minister Expands Contact Tracing Of COVID-19 Positive Patients To 15 People, Makes RT-PCR Rule
Highlights
  • Punjab CM suggested making arrangements for walk-in testing for COVID-19
  • CM ordered another sero-survey to assess the COVID19 situation in the state
  • COVID positivity rate in Punjab is at 2%, CM asked to increase surveillance

Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday (November 2) ordered the expansion of contact tracing of positive patients to 15 persons and made it mandatory for hospitals and radiology labs conducting CT scans to report such patients to the state administration in case of suspicion of Coronavirus. As per the official release, the move is part of a slew of measures taken by the state government to strengthen the COVID management systems amid the apprehension of the second wave.

Also Read: COVID-19: Centre Advises States, UTs To Gear Up ‘Testing, Tracking And Treatment’ Strategy During Festivities

Further, to streamline and prioritize the process of COVID vaccination, the Chief Minister ordered a state-level 3-tier vaccine supervision mechanism, comprising a steering committee as well as state and district task force, to be put in place,” the release said.

It said that ‘in sharp contrast to some other states that are depending heavily on the less reliable Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT)’, the Chief Minister directed the Health Department to make RT-PCR the rule, with RAT to be treated as an exception, while ordering another Sero Survey to assess the ground situation.

Also Read: Punjab Government’s Mobile Coronavirus Testing Van Reaches Rural Areas For Free Walk-In COVID Test

In other steps, CM Singh directed 24×7 testing facility to be made available at district hospitals, all fever cases, and other symptomatic coming to health facilities to be tested with RT-PCR, and all patients attending the flu corners to be tested with RT-PCR.

He stressed the need to make arrangements for walk-in testing at multiple points and asked the Health Department to consider branching out testing by scaling up local initiatives like Mohali’s out-door testing, the release stated.

The Chief Minister further asked the state Health Department to get information from private and public hospitals regarding COVID mortality and complete the audit by November 9, so that remedial action can be taken by mid-November.

Emphasising the importance of ensuring preparedness for a second wave, he also directed the Department to meet manpower shortage, especially in L-II facilities, by filling all gaps in mission mode. Those who have been selected must be immediately given appointment letters and asked to join, he said, in response to a concern expressed on this count by Health Minister Balbir Sidhu, said the release.

Also Read: Punjab Allows Free Walk-In Testing For COVID-19 At Government Hospitals, Mobile Vans

Chief Minister also urged organisers of social and religious congregations, that have been permitted, to also encourage the participants to get themselves tested.

He asked officials to encourage citizens organisations and NGOs, and also to reach out to people through the Lok Sanjhedari program, to discourage the use of firecrackers this Diwali season, it said.

To ensure that distribution of the vaccine, once available, is prioritised among the vulnerable groups, including health workers and people with co-morbidities, Amarinder Singh ordered the constitution of a State Steering Committee, to be headed by the Chief Secretary, with monthly meetings to supervise the progress.

He also ordered that a State Task Force, headed by Principal Secretary Health, shall hold meetings every fortnight, while at the district level, the Districts Magistrates will head the District Task Force, which will meet on a weekly basis.

Stressing the need for extreme caution and extensive testing so that the situation, which has improved in recent weeks, does not aggravate, the Chief Minister said the positivity rate had come down to around 2 per cent but the state could not afford to be lax under any circumstances. He stressed the need to increase surveillance and strictly follow COVID-appropriate behaviours till a safe and effective vaccine is available, it stated.

Also Read: Students Of Indian Institute Of Technology, Madras Design Digital COVID-19 Awareness Game

The Chief Minister asked the concerned departments to dedicate the month of November to carry out testing of all staff, including health, police, revenue, and other civilian staff.

He said his government had already sanctioned approximately Rs. 900 Crore for COVID response and added that funds will not be allowed to become a constraint for ensuring full preparation and best response. He directed the Health Department to increase testing to 30,000 a day, with at least 100 tests per lakh population, the release stated further.

The focus areas for monthly testing in the state would be healthcare workers, government staff, industry workers, migrant labor (Mandis, residential areas of labor, brick-kilns, etc.), office and commercial establishments, markets, schools/colleges, m multiplexes, containment/micro containment zones, persons with comorbidities, dhabas and restaurants.

The Chief Minister said at least 50 per cent samples should be from these categories and directed the Health and Medical Education departments to come up with weekly sampling and surveillance plans indicating focus area.

Also Read: Free Food Packets For Poor Families To Encourage COVID-19 Testing In Punjab

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

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