Bhubaneswar Odisha Government has geared up its preparedness to fight against a possible third wave of COVID-19, a senior health department official said.
While the State has not recorded any case of the new coronavirus variant so far but neighboring Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal reported such infections.
The state has arranged for an adequate number of hospital beds, medical oxygen and medicines to deal with any emergency, Public Health Director Niranjan Mishra said.
“No one can rule out the possibility of the third wave of COVID-19 with increasing Omicron cases. We are well prepared to tackle the situation,” the official said.
Samples of those who are returning from countries where the new strain of coronavirus has been detected are being tested and they are kept in isolation, he said.
“Their samples are also being re-tested after seven days. Samples of COVID-infected passengers are being sent for genome sequencing to ascertain whether they contracted the Omicron variant, which has been classified as a highly transmissible virus of concern,” he said.
Replying to a question about two returnees from Nigeria, Mishra said, “The Cuttack Administration has been asked to collect their samples and send them to laboratories for genome sequencing.” They have been kept in isolation as per COVID-19 protocols.
Dr.Mishra said dedicated facilities in existing COVID care centers will be made available for those who test positive for the Omicron variant in Odisha and they will not be allowed to go for home quarantine.
“Omicron-infected patients will be isolated in institutional quarantine centers. Special measures will be taken to ensure that these patients do not come in contact with others at designated health facilities,” he said.
Omicron count crossed the 100 mark on Friday in the country after recording the highest single-day rise of 24 fresh cases of the new variant.
The caseload of the new strain in the country was at 111.
Nodal Officer for Immunization Bijay Panigrahi urged all eligible beneficiaries to take the second jab of COVID vaccines.
The State Administration has so far inoculated over 2.86 crore people, and 1.85 crore of them have received both doses of vaccines.
COVID-19 tally rose to 10,52,641 on Saturday as 169 more people tested positive for the infection.
One fresh fatality pushed the coronavirus death toll to 8,442, the Department of Health & Family Welfare official said.
Odisha now has 1,922 active cases, while 10,42,224 people have recovered from the disease so far, including 222 in the last 24 hours.