THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With social distancing and reverse quarantine going for a toss on polling day, the number of new cases is expected to shoot up to 700 per day from next week. As seven FLTCs operating at educational institutions have been shut down, authorities plan to open six new centres in auditoriums and clubs
Fearing yet another spike in Covid-19 cases triggered by the local body elections, the district health authorities are busy taking steps to roll out a plan to deal with such a scenario. Social distancing norms went for a toss in many polling booths during the elections held on December 8, creating the ground for another pandemic wave. According to health experts, reverse quarantine was ignored on the polling day as shown by high voting percentage at many places. Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) president Joseph Chacko said social distancing norms were violated blatantly at polling stations and poll material distribution centres.
“The test positivity rate is fluctuating between eight and 10 these days but the number of deaths is climbing. On Thursday, 35 deaths were reported in the state. Considering the huge population of the elderly, the worst can be expected. The state has hit a plateau now but there is definitely going to be a surge,” said Chacko.
A maximum of 600 to 700 cases per day are expected. As the seven CFLTCs operating at educational institutions in the district have been shut down, the health authorities are busy searching for alternative locations to set up such centres to manage the surge. In all, there were 13 CFLTCs earlier. The authorities have decided to set up six more CFLTCs to manage the surge triggered by the elections.
The District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has directed the district medical office to be ready with the human resources and facilities to manage the possible surge, which is expected to start reporting from next week. “Currently, the cases are low in the district and even if there is a surge, we don’t think it would go beyond 600-700 cases per day. We had to hand back the educational institutions and hence we shut down seven CFLTCs. As part of the poll-related surge plan, we will open six more CFLTCs,” said a senior official of the health department.
The authorities have divided the district into three zones and two CFTLCs would be opened in each zone when the need arises. They have identified auditoriums and clubs to set up new CFTLCs. The DDMA has listed 89 facilities for setting up such centres as part of the emergency plan. The authority has directed the health authorities to set up 1,380 beds to manage the surge.
“We don’t think there is a need for more human resources for running CFLTCs. We have redeployed our staff to resume core disease control activities as other vector-borne diseases are going up in the district. Immunisation drives have been stalled and we need to focus on all these activities at the same time as the communicable disease could also turn fatal for the public. We have enough staff for deployment at CFLTCs,” the official added.
St Nicolas Convention Centre (Pulluvila), Sree Neelakesi Auditorium (Venganoor), Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Advanced Studies (Neyyar Dam), Forest Community Hall (Vellarada), Green Auditorium (Nanniyodu) and Government Ayurveda College are the facilities identified.