NEW DELHI: Concerned about the high mortality rate in Punjab which is now third in the country
and increasing infection rate in Union territory of Chandigarh which is highest in the country, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is sending two separate teams one each for both Punjab and Chandigarh respectively for surveillance, testing and guidance besides assisting both of them in strengthening public health measures for containment and efficient management of COVID-19.
Each team consist of a Community Medicine expert from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh and an epidemiologist from the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).
Sources said that a two-member team of Dr Akshay Kumar from National Centre for Disease Control and Dr JS Thakur of community medicine and school for public health of PGIMER will stay in Punjab for about ten days and identify all gap areas, why mortality is high and identify the same, testing is going fine or not, isolation and contact tracing is up to the mark, also address the challenges faced in the management of coronavirus and guide the health department of the state.
"Most of the guidelines and parameters followed and formed by the state government were not in consultation with public health experts,’’ said an insider.
Confirming that a central team is coming to Punjab, Principal Secretary (Health), Punjab, Hussan Lal said," a two-member team formed by the central government in coming to the state to assist the state government in the management of rising coronavirus cases. It is likely to come in the coming week and will visit a few COVID-19 facilities in the state also. It will also analyse all the data regarding COVID-19 as regards to comorbidities, age groups, rural and urban cases and so forth and suggest what strategy should be followed by the state government.’’
"Punjab has now the third highest fatalities in the country due to coronavirus after Maharashtra and Gujrat, as the state has recorded 2.9 per cent death rate, while the national average is 1.6 per cent,’’ he said.
Till September 5 (yesterday), Punjab has reported 61,527 cases of COVID-19, of which 43,849 have recovered. The fatality rate is the third-worst in the country with 1,808 succumbing to the novel coronavirus.
"One of the key factors for high mortality in the state is late reporting of patients for testing and treatment for COVID-19. The maximum fatalities due to the novel virus in the state were in level 3 that is 80 per cent of the deaths as majority of these patients presented with advanced symptoms before getting tested and 18 per cent deaths at level 2,’’ said Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, state nodal officer for COVID-19.
While the doubling rate of infection of COVID-19 in Chandigarh (Union Territory) is 5.1 per cent which is more than double the national average of 2.1 per cent. As for last five days every day more than 200 positive cases are coming in the city.
Arun Kumar Gupta Health-cum-Home Secretary of Chandigarh Administration says," a two member team has been formed by the central government which includes Dr Laxshmi from PGIMER and Dr Sahil from NCDC and they will be visiting for COVID-19 management.’’
Sources said that issues which will be discussed with the Chandigarh Administration by the team includes formation for separate team for home isolation care and post COVID-19 facility.