Health dept braces to fight second Covid wave- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The health department is mulling options to deal with a second wave of Covid-19, as indicated by the surge in the number of daily cases. The plan involves strengthening of Covid care in major hospitals and opening up of a few Covid first line treatment centres (CFLTCs), said an officer. The decision has come at a time when most of the Covid hospitals have gone back to their normal functioning after new cases declined since March.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday cautioned the public to stay alert as the state is witnessing a second wave of Covid. The test positivity rate which was down to 2.74 on March 15 has doubled. The state reported 2,508 new cases and the test positivity rate was 4.84 on Friday.

“There has been a climb this week after a decline phase. It could be due to the election campaign which is often crowded. If the daily numbers climb to 4,000 or 5,000 by next week then it could be considered as a second wave. We will have to step up our preparations including CFLTCs if there is a wave,” said Dr S S Santhoshkumar, deputy superintendent, Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. “There should be preparation to deal with the post-election surge which is happening at the moment. It will take 10-14 days to reflect the impact of a spreading event. It is likely to continue for the next two to three weeks.” According to him, the plan to hand over Covid beds to medicine department for regular functioning would be postponed considering the situation.

According to health department, preparation for yet another wave would be a difficult task this time. “If there is a sudden spike it will be difficult to manage the situation when compared to the first time. It will be a daunting task to take over the institutions for CFLTC,” he said.

According to him most of the Covid hospitals have gone back to normal functioning. “We will have to shift non-Covid patients in ICUs to some other hospitals as we had done in the first instance. But there was enough support to deal with the situation,” he said.

The state government had started CFLTCs in March last year to deal with the surge in Covid cases. 
By the time case load increased in October it was operating over 200 CFLTCs and 29 dedicated Covid hospitals. CFLTCs included hospitals, schools, auditoriums, public buildings etc. Later the health department relinquished the custody of the buildings with the decline in case loads and treatment guidelines.

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