Tamil Nadu's Perambalur district records zero COVID cases, thanks to three women administrators
While R Geetha Rani is deputy director of health services, Nisha Parthiban is superintendent of police and district collector was V Santha till November 2 when she was replaced by P Sri Venkata Priya.
PERAMBALUR: For the first time since May 29, no new COVID-19 cases were reported in Perambalur district on Monday and Tuesday. Officials attribute the control of the virus to good coordination between three teams - health, police and district administration - all headed by women.
While R Geetha Rani is deputy director of health services, Nisha Parthiban is superintendent of police and district collector was V Santha till November 2 when she was replaced by P Sri Venkata Priya. The district reported its first case on April 4 and has reported 2228 cases and 21 deaths. It has only 30 active cases now.
"This is good news, but we cannot yet say the district is Coronavirus free. The virus has an incubation period of 28 days. Only if we have zero cases for that period can the district be declared coronavirus free," cautioned Geetha Rani.
Besides focused testing and widespread campaigns, low population density of the district also helped officials in controlling the virus. Geetha Rani said around 350- 400 samples are being tested each day and this would be ramped up.
"Perambalur's population density is low, hence social distancing is much easier. Not much industrial activity takes place which means we have fewer migrant workers. There are no apartments, or gated communities and so there were never many potential hotspots," she explained.
The absence of big industries was also a factor. "We have MRF with over 6,000 employees but we provided training to their in-house medical professionals on drawing samples. We test their samples and they update us with daily reports," she said.
Similarly, clusters that contributed to a spike in cases in other districts were controlled well. For instance, Koyambedu returnees were identified by placing check posts much ahead of the toll gates.
This way persons returning from Chennai could change or jump out of the vehicles and were tested and taken to institutional quarantine. "We did not permit home quarantine but encouraged institutional quarantine for the 700-odd people who returned from Koyambedu," she said.
Of the 1,024 foreign returnees who came to Perambalur, only one person - a son of a returnee - tested positive and recovered. The Tablighi Jamaat cluster too had little effect on the district as there was only one returnee. "Three patients contracted the infection from him. They were all identified and isolated. Except for one day, new cases have been reported in just single digits in the past months. So it could be said that the district has it under control. However, we prepared for a second wave," she said.
The district will be increasing testing booths and monitoring fever camps to tackle any Deepavali-related spikes in cases. Nisha Parthiban too added that the district would not ease up on COVID controls. Both the SP and DDHS told The New Indian Express that efficient control was only possible due to their good coordination with each other and the revenue department.