Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo, on Tuesday emphasized the need to ramp up testing of suspected Corona patients besides augmenting the capacity and facilities of the laboratories.
The FC, while chairing officers meeting at Civil Secretariat held to review the hospital preparedness and testing strategy with regard to COVID-19, directed the officers for upgrading the facilities in the designated COVID-19 hospitals across Jammu and Kashmir so that these can provide Level-3 treatment to the coronavirus patients.
The FC said that increasing the sample testing should be the focus on the authorities in order to have a clear picture about the disease for tackling it in a better way. He said that all high-risk contacts of the positive cases should be tracked, quarantined and lab-tested as per the protocol.
“We need to be meticulous about the services that are being provided at the designated COVID-19 hospitals and have to increase our strength in terms of enhanced facilities and manpower,” Dulloo said adding that better patient care should be the top priority for the health department.
Stressing on the need to lower the burden on the tertiary health care institutes, he said that there is a need to upgrade our Level-2 hospitals to Level 3. “We need to lower the burden on our tertiary care health institutions by upgrading some of our Level 2 hospitals to Level 3 and Level 1 hospitals to Level 2 to effectively combat the Corona pandemic,” he said.
Pertinently, the level three hospitals have pulmonologist, round the clock ICU teams, ventilators, anaesthetic support, oxygen support, ventilation facility physicians, and other facilities.
It was informed that the health officials have drawn a hospital management plan comprising three levels of hospitals to manage Coronavirus patients effectively and to avoid unnecessary clogging at the tertiary hospitals.
Stressing on the need to increase the testing capacity in Jammu and Kashmir, he said that existing technical setups in various universities of the Union Territory will be utilized in this regard.
The FC was informed that the officials are on the job and by the end of this month they will be able to increase the testing capacity manifold. He was informed that 2 compatible Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RTPCR) machines will be provided by Kashmir University authorities that only need calibration.
It was also given out in the meeting that mobilization of staff from other departments has been started and Kashmir University and SKUAST-K have already committed that they will provide their 10 and 4 number of staff members respectively to augment the testing capacity.
The FC further directed the authorities to visit the weak spots in the hospitals on a daily basis and find out ways and means to improve the same.
Director Coordination New Medical Colleges, Dr Yashpal Sharma presented a detailed presentation on ‘Hospital Preparedness” giving out the details about the facilities that are available at different hospitals.
He informed that 16 hospitals have been designated as COVID-19 hospitals in J&K. He said that isolation facilities are available at 5 government and 3 private hospitals in Jammu while in Kashmir the isolation facilities are being provided at 11 government hospitals and 15 private nursing homes have been identified for the purpose in Kashmir.
The meeting was attended by Mission Director National Health Mission, JK; Principal Government Medical College, Jammu; Commandant CRPF Hospital, Bantalab Jammu, Joint Director Planning H&ME and other officers.
Director SKIMS; Principals of Government Medical College Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Rajouri, Doda and Kathua and other officers attended the meeting through video conferencing.
Meanwhile, in another meeting with regard to cluster surveillance, contact tracing, home quarantine, the Financial Commissioner directed the authorities to intensify the contact tracing of the COVID positive patients on a war footing basis.
He also asked the Deputy Commissioners of the respective districts to increase the surveillance teams so as not to leave any chance for further spread of the pandemic.
“The surveillance teams in all the districts should work in commensurate basis with the population. We need full support from all the departments in contact tracing and the surveillance efforts have to be intensified in those locations where cases have arisen,” he said adding that a call centre would be established in every district.
The FC further directed that contact tracing should be completed in time and no laxity would be tolerated in this regard adding that it must be ensured that all traced contacts of the positive cases should be placed under home or administrative quarantine.