Mumbai: The Union 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.

Union Health Secretary held a review meeting through video conference (VC) with the Health Secretaries of 5 States and 1 UT on the containment and management of COVID 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.

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, the Union Secretary 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 comorbids 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 on 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. 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 Center.

The States/UT were advised to take steps on specific areas:

  1. Limiting the spread of the infection by implementing stringent containment measures and following social distancing measures, strict peri-meter control, and active house-to-house case search
  2. Early identification by ramping up testing across the districts, optional utilization of RT-PCR testing capacity
  3. Effective monitoring of home isolation cases and early hospitalization in case of disease progression
  4. Seamless hospitalization and early admission for patients requiring medical support, especially in cases of co-morbid and elderly population.
  5. Following effective infection control measures in hospitals to safeguard healthcare workers from contracting the infection.
  6. The District Collectors and other functionaries to prepare and update district specific plans to continue their efforts to manage the pandemic with the same rigor.