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Covid Norms Back In State

Bhubaneswar: In view of rise in Covid-19 cases in foreign countries, the State Government has advised the people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour voluntarily.  

After holding a meeting to review the Covid situation in the State, Secretary Health & Family Welfare, Shalini Pandit said all people should have to adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour like use of mask, hand washing, avoid spitting in public places and self-isolation in case of development of any Covid like symptoms.

Countries like Japan, Republic of Korea, USA, France, Brazil, Germany and China are showing a rise in cases in the last two weeks. However, the situation in Odisha has remained stable with below 15 cases per day since November, 2022 and on most of the days it is below 10 cases, Shrimati Pandit said.

The present testing level of 134 tests per million is much higher than the country level of 109 per million. Also, Odisha is testing 1552 samples to get one positive against India figure of 589 tests for one positive, she said.

Hospitalization rate in the state has remained nil with an active case load of 54 as on date. All experts present in the meeting are of the opinion that the current variants circulating since the last few months in India are all sub- variants of Omicron and have not led to any rise in cases or hospitalisation, said Pandit.

They are also of the opinion that the new Omicron variants are associated with high transmissibility, but there is no evidence to suggest that it can cause disease severity or escape vaccine induced communities in our country, she stated.

However, as a measure of precaution and preparedness, the Health Department has issued fresh guidelines to all district headquarter hospitals, Capital Hospital Bhubaneswar and RGH, Rourkela.

A mock drill will be undertaken uniformly across the State on December 27 to ensure operational readiness for management of Covid with specific focus on oxygen plants, ventilators and testing.

The surveillance at airports and sea ports are to be guided by the advisory/ guidelines issued by the Centre from time to time.

The State Government has also decided to conduct genome sequencing of all Covid-19 positive cases. At present, Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) and Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) Bhubaneswar are conducting whole genome sequencing for the Covid positive cases.

In the meantime, a WGS facility has been set up in the Department of Bio Chemistry of SCB MCH Cuttack. It was decided that SCB MCH will apply for affiliation of their WGS laboratory with INSACOG.

No case of surgery, delivery and other essential health care should be denied in the name of Covid and all non-Covid activities should continue to ensure health care delivery, official sources said.

In view of the ensuing Hockey World Cup additional manpower will be made available for Khordha, Cuttack and Sundargarh district in January. If required, for World Cup Surveillance will be allowed on receipt of specific proposals from the concerned authorities.

Further, it was decided that all urban PHCs and urban CHCs in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Rourkela will have facilities for RAT and swab collection for RT-PCR.

Currently, as the Health Ministry has ceased the public Covid vaccination programme, all the vaccines are exhausted in government hospitals and are now available at 12 private health institutions on payment. It is decided to request the Centre to re-commence the public vaccination programme for precaution dose vaccination.

Sufficient kits are available for Covid testing at the current level for three months. Oxygen supply systems were reviewed and found to be adequate to handle any upsurge in case load.