PUDUCHERRY: Although the second wave of COVID-19 has seen a lot of deaths in Puducherry, with 864 in the month of May alone, cases have been steadily declining here.
The health department is now getting ready for the third wave, said Health Secretary T Arun in a statement. Constant warnings from experts suggest that the third wave could be merciless to the unvaccinated and children are at risk as there’s no approved vaccine for them yet. Several vaccines including India’s Bharath Biotech's Covaxin for inoculating children are on trial with the hope that they will be ready on time.
The Puducherry health department is taking every effort to tackle the next wave if and when it arrives, said Arun. A COVID-19 ward is being prepared especially for children at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute (IGMCRI), he said.
The opening up of five oxygen plants is expected to help Puducherry be self-sufficient in meeting its oxygen demand. Besides the major hospitals, oxygen bed facilities have been made in rural areas with the assistance of MLAs. While 40 beds have been established in the Community Health Centre, Karikalampakkam with the establishment of the PSA oxygen plant, 25 beds have been established in Bahour by MLA R Senthil Kumar and 30 in Kalapet by MLA PML Kalyanasundaram. With the availability of oxygen concentrators, Covid patients with mild infections could be given oxygen at these places, besides other treatment facilities and food, he said.
Covid care facilities have been enhanced substantially in IGMCRI and JIPMER. Besides, Covid treatment facilities have been introduced at Government General Hospital, Mahatma Gandhi Dental College and Chest Diseases Hospital at Gorimedu in the government sector. Additionally, private medical colleges are also extending Covid care.
The number of reported active COVID-19 cases in Puducherry is now on the decline and the gap between recoveries and daily cases continues to widen in favour of recoveries. Though the nightmarish second wave seems to be ebbing, the scars of it won't be easily erased.
“The lessons learnt in the second wave are extensive and several strategies helped us,” he said, adding that the first and foremost is public cooperation which is of paramount importance, while another is the mantra that Puducherry health department used religiously -- 'Testing, Tracing and Treatment'.
Another significant strategy is that instead of making patient go to hospital seeking treatment, hospital teams are visiting patients at home and evaluating them. This has helped in keeping the spread of the virus in check, he said. The effortless coordination between this team and the COVID war room and 104 helpline kept confusion at bay. The next step should be decentralizing hospital beds and making several peripheral Covid Care centres, he said.
Above all the most important is that 100% vaccination would only be the way forward, he added.