Omicron Fear: States, UTs Asked To Set Up Makeshift Hospitals, Form Special Teams

New Delhi: As Omicron fear grips the country, the Central government on Saturday asked the states and Union Territories to set up makeshift hospitals and form special teams to check the spread of Covid-19 infections.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories on measures to deal with a possible surge in coronavirus cases.

“To address a potential surge in cases, with a view to ensure preparedness states are advised to initiate creation of field/makeshift hospitals to augment availability of health infrastructure. This can be done with coordination with DRDO & CSIR as well as the private sector, corporations, NGOs etc. This will aid the process of rapid creation of field hospitals or temporary hospital set-ups,” Bhushan wrote in his letter.

“States may also consider leveraging hotel rooms and other accommodations’ linked with the COVID dedicated hospitals in Government and private sector to cater to patients having mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19, as was done in some states during the earlier surge in cases,” he added.

Stating a large number of positive cases may be eligible for home isolation, Bhushan said: “These cases would require effective follow up and a clear defined mechanism for prompt shifting to a health facility in case of deterioration in their health situation.”

The Union Health Secretary said it is particularly important that all states should monitor their home isolation protocol and its actual implementation at the field level.

“Special teams be constituted to monitor all home isolation cases, call centres/control rooms must aid outbound calling for monitoring such patients and ensuring that all such cases can be shifted to an appropriate health facility through dedicated ambulances,” he added.

Bhushan said all states must ensure that control rooms at district level or sub district/ward level are made functional.

“A clear defined mechanism to access testing, ambulance and hospital beds need to be put in place and communicate to the public at large. A mechanism wherein citizen can call and get ambulance and a bed in a transparent manner needs to be operationalised. The call centres, district or state level dashboards/portals can play an important role in organizing the same,” he added.

The Union Health Secretary further said the states are also requested to ensure that the existing Covid dedicated health infrastructure is revised and necessary action to ensure its operational readiness be taken.

Asserting the implementation of containment activities at the field level is essential to contain the spread of infection, Bhushan said: “Need for effective contact tracing coupled with quarantine of contacts including facility quarantine for high risk and comorbid contacts shall be taken up.”

“Sufficient number of quarantine facilities shall accordingly be planned across the state,” he added.

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