Himachal Govt working on war footing as pandemic has taken serious turn: Health Secy

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Shimla, Nov 27

Himachal Government is working on war footing as pandemic has taken serious turn stated Health Secretary. While being referred about the sudden spike in Corona cases due to lacking seriousness of ‘prevention and precautions’ by both public and decision makers alike Amitabh Awasthi State Secretary Health said,” It is both sides.”   He admitted that the rising number of cases and casualties has created an extraordinary situation to be dealt with.

Stating the same in a press briefing he added that the government was trying to augment health infrastructure and requisite staff after recording highest covid positivity rate in the country in recent days which has threatened to overburden the state hospitals.

The cumulative positivity rate of the state till November 26 is recorded to be 7.36 percent. Pertinent to mention on November 18 it was 6.67 percent. Attributed to the fact that, in the last 7 days, average positivity rate of the State rose to 16.48 percent.

Three prefabricated makeshift hospitals would come up in a matter of fortnight, two more hospitals are being converted exclusively into covid centres and the state health department has hired 250 additional nurses, lab technicians and other staff on an outsource basis, he informed. Adding, that prefabricated structures for three makeshift hospitals in Shimla, Nalagarh and Tanda have already been built in Noida by Roorkee- based Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), and the hospitals are likely to become functional in a fortnight. Two hospitals in Rohru and Khaneri (Rampur) in Shimla district having a bed capacity of 35 and 20 respectively are being converted into dedicated covid health centres within the next three days and a similar centre will be established in Kullu district as well, said the Health Secretary.
The hospital in Rampur will cut down the travel time for patients coming from Kinnaur,” said Awasthi. He assured that there is sufficient bed capacity in covid wards as of now, but there have been times when the occupancy has exceeded 95 percent, which is a risky situation.

Talking about lack of oxygen supply, he reasoned that the instance of a couple of covid patients facing shortage of oxygen supply at zonal hospital in Dharamshala one day happened because on the day the hospital was occupied on a hundred percent bed capacity and therefore a shortfall of oxygen supply took place. Referring to another incidence, a vehicle ferrying oxygen cylinders met with an accident leading to a delay in oxygen supply at the DDU zonal hospital in Shimla.

“But these are isolated incidents and a surplus stock of 50 oxygen cylinders has now been ensured at both the hospitals. We are also repeatedly instructing all medical staff to be courteous and compassionate while dealing with patients,” said Awasthi.

Also taking reference of another viral video, relating to shifting of a covid patient from one hospital to another in Shimla. He said “The patient was also suffering from a spinal problem which needed treatment but there was a delay in shifting him for which we have initiated an inquiry under Director (health) to probe the reasons” he added.

He said that the districts having high positivity rate required special attention during coming two to three weeks as it is a crucial period.  He said that Shimla and Mandi districts are currently reporting a very high positivity rate of more than 15 percent and are the only two districts having more than one thousand active cases.  There are around 2,000 and 1,500 active cases in Shimla and Mandi respectively, while the total active cases in the state are nearly 8,000.

As per cumulative data of the state government evaluated till 26 November 7 out of 12 districts in the state are reeling with higher positivity rate i.e above 5percent. Topped by Lahaul & Spiti at 14.2 percent, Kullu follows at 13.36 percent. Mandi at 13.2, behind is Shimla with 11.65 percent. Then follows, Solan with 9.02 percent and Bilaspur at 6.62 percent and Kinnaur 6.32.

Regarding covid testing, Awasthi said that nearly 6,000 tests are now being done daily and additional lab technicians have been hired to carry out testing in 24/7 mode. Currently, 47 out of 198 ambulance vehicles from the 108 fleet are being used for covid, he said, adding that 30 more ambulances from another fleet under the director of health services will be deployed for covid duty in the districts of Shimla, Mandi and Kangra. Also for snow prone areas gypsies shall be hired to provide service to COVID patients.

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