CHENNAI: The Health Department has started cluster testing in places where Covid cases are constant and fever surveillance has also been increased, particularly in bordering districts, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said on Monday.Speaking to media after taking part in the 7th anniversary of Government Multi Specialty Hospital at Omandurar Estate, Radhakrishnan said that Chennai is reporting an average of 140-170 cases daily, while Coimbatore and Chengalpattu have also reported constant numbers for a while. Cluster testing is being conducted in all these places, he said.
“We have begun to identify streets from where cases are being reported and started testing contacts. We are also analysing the reasons for the constant number in a particular street as well as where the cases are coming from,” said Radhakrishnan.The Health Secretary further said that though the positivity rate in State remains at 0.9 per cent, there is a chance of increasing in numbers if people do not follow norms. The Health Department has so far collected `13 crore from 14 lakh people for violating the norms, he said.
Radhakrishnan said fever surveillance has been intensified, particularly in districts bordering Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. “Information booths have been set up and thermal scanning is being done. Passengers coming by international flights must have RT-PCR negative reports. If they show symptoms, it has been instructed to conduct RT-PCR test in the borders, particularly for those coming from Kerala.”
Since many in Tirunelveli district have contacts in Mumbai, instructions have been issued to officials to be alert about passengers arriving from there as the State has seen a surge, the Health Secretary said. On making RT-PCR test mandatory for those coming from Mumbai, he said that a decision can be taken only after holding consultations with the Chief Minister.
Radhakrishnan also stressed that it is mandatory for political party cadre to wear marks. “We have noticed that they do not maintain social distancing and remove masks when in crowd. The norms are the same for everyone. To prevent Covid clusters, we are also monitoring such crowds and lifting random samples and testing,” he said. The district Deputy Directors of Health Services have also been instructed to monitor political meetings, he said.
The State’s vaccination drive has covered 50-60 per cent of healthcare workers, and the second dose should be taken on the 28th day of the first shot as per instruction from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Radhakrishnan said He also said that there are studies showing that even if people who had taken the first dose of the vaccine get Covid by any chance, the infection won’t be severe.
The Health Secretary said that though the priority for vaccinating healthcare workers is over, they can still get inoculated. When it is the turn for people above and below the age of 50 with co-morbidities, healthcare workers will be pushed to the category of age wise priority.Though vaccination is voluntary, nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers not taking the jab is only setting a bad example, Radhakrishnan said and assured that vaccines are safe. All those involved in the election works, including teachers, will be vaccinated, he added.
Dengue cases are being reported in the State and since one per cent of the infected will develop complications, people should be careful.Dengue clinical protocol is also being given to hospitals through the Director of Medical Education. Water storage containers should be monitored and cleared to prevent breeding of aedes mosquitoes. Instructions have been given to all Collectors, Radhakrishnan said.
Coimbatore babies died of asphyxiation?
The preliminary report submitted in the 24 hours of deaths of two babies in Coimbatore, who died hours after they were administered pentavalent vaccine, cited that asphyxiation could be the cause of death. However, the district officials will submit a detailed report in 10 days and the State Level Committee will meet and discuss the matter. Until then, people should stop speculating the cause of the deaths. The 27 children, who were vaccinated in the same primary health centres, are doing fine, Health Secretary Radhakrishnan said