THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the election campaigning coming to an end, the district is bracing for post-poll Covid clusters. The Test Positivity Rate (TPR) is spiking daily, worrying the health authorities. Until a week ago, the TPR was at three per cent. Last week it crossed four per cent. With most of the Covid First Line Treatment Centres (CFLTC) shut down, the health department seems to have no plans to contain a more aggressive second wave. Currently, the only plan is to carry out mass vaccinations in a short period of time. On Sunday, a total of 5,171 tests were held in the district and around 208 new Covid-19 cases were reported.
A senior official of the health department said the social distancing norms were not being followed and election campaigns were held flouting Covid protocols. “Currently, 7,000 tests are conducted in the district per day. We are planning to increase this number. We want people to come forward voluntarily and get tested if they got exposed to the virus. Now, it’s practically impossible to make more arrangements for managing Covid-19 as the hospitals have gone back to accepting non-Covid patients,” said the official.
Deputy Superintendent S S Santhosh Kumar, Emergency Department, Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital, said the cases are slowly climbing up in the state and it will take another week to know whether this is indicative of a second wave.
“A week ago, we had between 1,500 and 2,000 cases, but now it is close to 2,500. The second wave could bring heavy increase in the number of cases. Now, we have started feeling the heat of the election campaigning,” Santhosh said. He added that officials are watching the situation keenly.
Santhosh said the state hasn’t downsized the facilities set aside for Covid-19 and hence it’s well prepared to face a possible second wave. “We have enough facilities to manage 5,000 to 6,000 cases per day. The earlier plan was to downsize the facilities after the elections. Now we may wait for another one week and if required we will continue to maintain the facilities for more weeks,” he added.
Mass gatherings and similar events are the reasons for the spike in cases in the state, Santhosh said. Since the election declaration, the Covid containment activities and vaccination have been hit as a large section of officials are involved in poll duties. “Vaccination is the only solution before us now. It’s high time the state strengthened the campaign to encourage the public to get vaccinated. Now the government should make available vaccines for every individual irrespective of age,” added Santhosh.
Officials allege vaccination misuse
Several incidents of misuse of Covid-19 vaccination in the private sector have been reported in the district. Officials allege that private hospitals are giving vaccines to ineligible people. “We have come across several such incidents in the private sector but are unable to take action. Many young people have got the vaccine from private hospitals. These illegal beneficiaries are being entered into the website as health care workers or front line workers. Now this malpractice will not happen as we have vaccinated the entire health care workers and front line workers,” said an official.
So far, around 3.23 lakh people have been administered the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. There are over 11 lakh beneficiaries above 45 years of age in the district. In Thiruvananthapuram, there are around 180 vaccination centres.
“On Sunday, we conducted mobile vaccination camps at 15 residents associations in the corporation area and covered around 20,000 beneficiaries on a single day. We have covered all old-age homes in the district. Now, registration is open only for beneficiaries above 45 years of age,” said an official associated with the Covid-19 vaccinations.
The target is to complete the vaccination of over 11 lakh beneficiaries by May 15. According to experts, the vaccine can resist even the mutant strain of the Covid-19. Santhosh said the available Covid-19 vaccines don’t offer 100 per cent protection but would help reduce the severity of the pandemic.