Kerala implements scientific strategy to counter COVID 3rd wave: Health minister

Health Minister Veena George

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala health minister Veena George has informed that there is nothing to worry about the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state. She pointed out that the state has been executing a scientific strategy to counter the third wave of the virus.

“ The third wave is completely different from the first and second waves. During the first wave, we don’t have a proper protocol. Because of this, a nationwide lockdown was imposed. We have started the vaccination drive with the commencement of the second wave. At present, all people above 18 years received their first jab. Hence, the majority of the population already achieved immunity against coronavirus,” informed the health minister.

Though the cases are on the rise, the number of hospital admissions is very low, she added.

“ There is no need of concern over the spike in COVID-19 cases. Each one of us must be careful to protect our health. A complete lockdown will affect public life and livelihood. Keralites will face a huge financial crisis if we opt for a state-wide lockdown. Hence, the government has planned a scientific strategy to counter the third wave. At present, COVID restrictions are imposed considering the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in each district,” said the minister while addressing the media here on Friday.

Out of the 1,99,041 active cases, only 3 per cent of patients are admitted to hospitals. In medical colleges, the number of patients admitted to ICU also decreased. Compared to the delta variant, highly-infectious Omicron is less severe. But aged people, those with comorbidities and unvaccinated individuals are likely to suffer serious complications.

Test Positivity Rate is no more considered as a criterion for assessing the COVID-19 situation. As per the central government guidelines, those who have symptoms must undergo a COVID-19 test. Hence, a huge group of people are likely to get infected. So naturally, the TPR will record high.

In view of the third wave, we have increased the ICU, ventilator, oxygen and paediatric facilities in the state. Efforts were taken to establish 194 new ICU units in 25 hospitals, 146 HDU units in 19 hospitals and 36 paediatric ICU units in 10 hospitals.

In medical colleges, a total of 1588 beds including 239 ICU- High care beds, 222 ventilators, 85 paediatric ICU beds, 51 paediatric ventilators, 878 oxygen beds, 113 normal beds were arranged.

The storage of liquid oxygen also increased. At present, the state holds 1817.54 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen in government and private sectors.

“ It is a time to work together. Even doctors who are in quarantine are coming forward to cooperate with e-Sanjeevani telemedicine facility. Training on home care of COVID patients will be given to RRT, ward-level committee members, ASHA workers, local body members and ICDS activists. Everyone must strictly follow COVID protocol,” the minister appealed.

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