Thiruvananthapuram: COVID-19 patients in the ‘C’ category with serious symptoms will be shifted to the medical college hospitals, Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja said. Asymptomatic patients will be contained in their houses. In case they do not have washrooms attached to their houses, they will be housed in panchayat care centres.
Patients in the ‘B’ category with milder symptoms will be shifted to district hospitals. The administration has been ordered to open second-line treatment centres, the minister stated.
The minister also said that she expected the number of ‘C’ category patients to come down even though a complete picture will emerge only after test results of about 2.5 lakh patients are out.
'Vaccination drive may stall'
Shailaja said that the vaccination programme may be suspended unless the central government allocates more vaccine doses. The state had requested 50 lakh doses but received only 2 lakh doses.
Kerala needed 50 lakh vaccine doses urgently, but it was left with only 5.5 lakh doses, Shailaja said.
The vaccine shortage was temporarily addressed with the delivery of 2 lakh doses on Friday.
Long lines were formed in the vaccination centres in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday as people were worried that the vaccine doses were running out of supply.
Kerala needed to step up the vaccination drive as 89 per cent of the population was not exposed to the virus yet.
'Don't lower guard anymore'
The minister warned that the pandemic could get out of hand any time we lowered our guard. She called upon the people to follow the COVID-19 protocol to contain the pandemic.
Kerala has stepped up tests in the backdrop of a surge in infection across the country. The minister also said that the state was prepared to treat a surge in patients even if a large share of the test samples turns positive.
Stress on testing
Kerala has been preparing to deal with the current second wave of COVID-19 by stepping up testing and vaccination on a massive scale. The government expects to test 2 lakh people on Friday and Saturday so that positive patients can be quarantined to check the spread of the virus.
As many as 1,33,836 people were tested on Friday. The same level of testing would ensure that the administration meets its own target. The results from Friday’s mass tests may be included in the COVID-19 daily tally to be announced on Saturday. The increased test is expected to push up the daily rate of infection.
Results of a mass test are expected to be out Saturday. Any sign of a spike may lead to a tightening of regulations at the local level.
Districts with the largest number of infections may be put under strict controls.