- Kerala has 7,063 active cases of COVID-19
- Kerala is doubling the first line treatment centres to treat mild patients
- Kerala’s Medical college hospitals will only treat seriously ill patients
New Delhi: After being lauded by Indian Council For Medical Research for their strategy to combat COVID-19, Kerala has been witnessing a sharp increase in fresh infections. The spike in the coronavirus cases began in May, with thousands of people returning from overseas, especially the Gulf nations, and other parts of the country, a health department official told NDTV. Even though, Kerala, with 12,480 cases has a lower caseload as compared to other southern states like Tamil Nadu (1,70,693 cases) and Andhra Pradesh (49,650 cases), among others, the state IS preparing its COVID-19 care infrastructure for any further worsening of the crisis.
The official told NDTV that Kerala has ramped up the COVID care infrastructure by doubling the first line treatment centres (FLTCs) to 56 from 28 and recruiting temporary staff for them, to be able to treat up to 50,000 patients at once.
We already have two COVID hospitals in each district but as the number of cases increased, we started one FLTC for each COVID hospital and so we have 28 FLTCs. Now we have given direction to double this number to 56, wherein one COVID hospital will have two FLTCs, he said.
With FLTCs, the main aim is to reduce the pressure of COVID-19 cases from the medical college hospitals where only the seriously ill patients would be treated, the official told NDTV.
FLTCs can be made by converting schools, hostels or any other large buildings and establishment. When it comes to the conversion of these buildings, he said,
The Kerala government has allocated Rs 10 crore for each district as funds for the purchase of necessary furniture and equipment at these centres. The panchayats have been given Rs 50,000 as an advance fund to set up the FLTCs.
Some FLTCs have up to 500 beds and at least 2,000 people can be accommodated in each of the 14 districts in the state, the official explained.
Furthermore, he said, the Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja has also given directions to the 941 panchayats of the state to open at least one FLTC each, to treat asymptomatic and mild-to-moderate patients.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last week stated that community transmission has occurred in two coastal regions in Thiruvananthapuram-Poonthura and Pulvilla.
According to the official, CM Vijayan declared these two areas as clusters with high cases.
Clusters are formed when there is an unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases IN a particular area and it occurs just before community transmission, he explained.
However, minimum 60 per cent of the patients are asymptomatic in the state, making things more difficult for the health department.
Lastly, the official told NDTV that public health experts in Kerala experts have predicted a rise in the COVID-19 cases in August. Even though a particular number has not been predicted, he says that the measures taken by the state government have been implemented with due consultation with various public health experts.
We are observing the third wave of the infections that has pushed the active cases to over 7,000 in the last 2-3 months. We had expected the wave to occur, when the lockdown norms were eased and people were allowed to return to the state. Some of our expert advisors have forecasted a surge in the number of cases in August, however, they were assured that the Kerala government can manage the situation with the measures we are taking, said the health department official.
Kerala reported 821 fresh cases on Sunday (July 19), the highest single-day count so far. While the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state are 12,480, the number of active cases stand at 7,063, and so far 42 people have died due to the virus.
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 (Water, Sanitation 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 pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.