Intensify contact tracing, testing capability: Atal Dulloo

JAMMU, APRIL 07: Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo today stressed on the need for ramping up of testing of suspected Corona patients and augmenting the laboratories with better facilities.

He also directed for upgrading the facilities in the designated COVID-19 hospitals across Jammu and Kashmir so that they can be equipped to provide Level-3 treatment to the COVID-19 patients.

He passed on these directions while chairing a officers meeting at Civil Secretariat here to review the hospital preparedness and testing strategy with regard to COVID-19.

The FC said that increasing the sample testing should be focus of the authorities in order to have a clear picture about the disease and said that all high risk contact of the positive cases should be tracked, quarantined and lab tested as per the protocol.

“We need to be meticulous about the services that are being provided at the designated COVID-19 hospitals. We have to increase our strength in terms of better facilities and manpower,” Dullo said adding that better patient care should be of top priority of the health department.

Stressing on the need to lower the burden on the tertiary health care institutes, he said that there is a need to upgrade our Level-2 hospitals to Level 3.

“We need to lower burden on our tertiary care health institutions. We will upgrade some of our Level 2 hospitals to Level 3 and Level 1 hospitals to Level 2to effectively combat the corona pandemic,” he said.

Level three hospitals have pulmonologist, round the clock ICU teams, ventilators, anesthetic support, oxygen support, ventilation facility physicians, and other facilities.

The health officials have drawn a hospital management plan comprising three levels of hospitals to manage corona virus patients effectively and toavoid unnecessary clogging at the tertiary hospitals.

Stressing on the need to increase the testing capacity, he said that existing technical set ups in various universities of Jammu and Kashmir will be utilized to increase the testing capacity of JK manifold.

The FC was informed that the officials are on the job and by the end of this month they will be able to increase the testing capacity manifold. He was informed that 2 compatible Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (rtPCR) machines will be provided by Kashmir University authorities that only need calibration. It was also given out in the meeting that mobilization of staff from other departments has started and Kashmir University and SKUAST, Kashmir have already committed that they will provide their 10 and 4 staff members respectively to augment the testing capacity.

The FC further directed the authorities to visit the weak spots in the hospitals on a daily basis and find out ways and means to improve the same.

Director Coordination New Medical Colleges, DrYashpal Sharma presented a detailed presentation on ‘Hospital Preparedness” giving out the details about the facilities that are available at different hospitals.

He informed the meeting that 16 hospitals have been designated as COVID-19 hospitals in J&K. He also said that isolation facilities are available at 5 government and 3 private hospitals in Jammu. In Kashmir isolation facilities are being provided at 11 government hospitals while 15 private nursing homes have been identified for the purpose in Kashmir.

The meeting was attended by Mission Director National Health Mission, JK; Principal Government Medical College, Jammu; Commandant CRPF Hospital, Bantalab Jammu, Joint Director Planning H&ME and other officers.

Director SKIMS; Principals of Government Medical College Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Rajouri, Doda and Kathua and other officers attended the meeting through video conferencing.

In another meeting with regard to cluster surveillance, contact tracing home quarantine, the Financial Commissioner directed the authorities to intensify the contact tracing of the covid positive patients and complete the contact tracing on a war footing basis.

He also asked the Deputy Commissioners of the respective districts to increase the surveillance teams so as not to leave any chances.

“The surveillance teams in all the districts should be in commensurate basis with the population. We need full support from all the departments in contact tracing and the surveillance efforts have to be intensified in those locations where cases have arisen,” he said adding that a call Centre to be established in every district.

The FC further directed that contact tracing should be complete and no laxity should be adopted adding that it must be ensured that all traced contacts of the positive cases should be placed under home or administrative quarantine.