The Kerala health department has prepared an action plan to effectively face a possible third wave of COVID-19.
Health Minister Veena George held a high-level meeting on Monday. Along with enhancing the treatment facilities at hospitals, the minister instructed that the maximum number of people should be vaccinated. The participation of private hospitals would also be ensured.
The aim is to vaccinate 2 lakh to 2.5 lakh people daily. The required vaccine for this should be available and the facilities and number of employees should be increased. A drive would be started for ordinary citizens who are not familiar with the registration process for vaccination. Vaccination should be conducted smoothly on Sundays and other holidays
As a result of the government's intervention and lockdown, the severity of the second wave has been coming down. Currently, only 47 per cent of the beds set aside for Covid is occupied by patients. In anticipation of the third wave, more beds would be set up at government and private hospitals. The number of oxygen beds, ICUs and ventilators would also be increased.
To prevent oxygen shortage, the target is to increase the daily production to 60 metric tonnes. The Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL) has been instructed to procure medicines, equipment, testing materials, and safety equipment in advance.
The health department is implementing a surge plan, anticipating that children too could be affected in the third wave. The treatment facilities at the medical colleges, other government hospitals and private hospitals would be enhanced. The paediatric facilities are being enhanced since last Monday. Expert training has also started. The number of paediatric ICU beds would also be increased.
The ICU staff should be routinely given expert training. Infection control training is also needed to protect the health workers. The incidence of transmission among household members is also on the rise. Therefore, household members should be highly cautious. Those who do not have facilities at home would be shifted to Covid care centres.
As the fatalities have increased, special awareness would be held focussing on the high-risk category of elderly and those with critical illnesses. Extra caution should be exercised if someone is diagnosed with Covid at the homes of such high-risk people. Discussions were also held on the current situation in the districts, preparations and further action. A report has to be submitted on Tuesday about the current facilities at the hospitals at the district level and about the further course of action. The Minister instructed that no event should be held at the health institutions without adhering to the Covid norms.
Health department Principal Secretary Dr Rajan N Khobragade, NHM state mission director Dr Rathan Kelkar, KMSCL MD Balamurali, health department director Dr R Ramesh, medical education director Dr A Ramla Beevi, additional directors, deputy directors, district medical officers, district program managers, and district surveillance officers took part in the meet.