Bhubaneswar: With experts anticipating that a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic may affect youngsters, especially children, the Odisha Government has formed a high-powered advisory committee to be headed by eminent Public Health Expert, K Srinath Reddy, Chief Secretary S C Mahapatra said.
Dr Reddy is President of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and former head of the Department of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
Chief Secretary Mr.Mohapatra said, Director Medical Education and Training (DMET) Dr CBK Mohanty will be the Member Convener of the committee while eminent doctor like Dr Devi Prasad Shetty (Chairman and Founder of Narayana Hrudayalaya) and Dr. Ramakant Panda (Vice-chairman and Managing Director of the Asian Heart Institute), and medical scientists will be members of the advisory committee.
The Chief Secretary said the committee will advise the state government on proper management of COVID-19, vaccination, and preparedness for a possible third wave of the pandemic.
The advisory committee will also suggest measures on universal vaccination for coronavirus as several reports suggest that the possible third wave of COVID-19 may affect youngsters, especially children, the chief secretary said.
The committee will advise the government on ramping up hospitals and other infrastructure, Mahapatra said.
Highlighting that Odisha is perhaps the first state which floated a global tender for procurement of 3.80 crore doses of vaccines, he said that the bidders have been asked to ensure supply of the vaccines within four months.
“If the bidding is successful, we will be able to procure the vaccines after May 28,” he pointed out.
Referring to the pandemic situation in the state, the chief secretary said that the positivity rate in 10 districts, mostly in western Odisha, has witnessed a declining trend during the ongoing lockdown.
While 8,000 patients were hospitalized during the peak of the pandemic last year, this time the figure is 15,000 of which 3,000 are in ICU, ventilator, and oxygen support.
“The coronavirus situation in Odisha is well within control,” the Chief Secretary said.
Meanwhile, the Health and Family Welfare department has constituted four teams to ensure that only critical patients are admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, P K Mohapatra said it has been observed that many patients with stable health conditions are occupying ICUs in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.
The four teams will visit all COVID hospitals in the state capital and Cuttack to verify the occupancy of ICU beds and submit a report in this regard by 5 PM every day.
This will ensure admission of only critical COVID patients in ICUs, he added. The government has also decided to increase the number of ICU beds by over 400 in the state within a week, he said.
Availability of beds, essential medicines, and oxygen is being reviewed daily and the number of beds will be increased further if needed, he said.