The third wave is fuelled by the Omicron variant, said Kerala's Health Minister Veena George. She said that 94% of cases in the third wave have been caused by Omicron while the remaining were fuelled by the Delta variant.
Veena George said that the COVID cases could spike and attain a peak in certain districts. She, however, ruled out the kind of surge witnessed since January 1. "A massive surge, like the spike from 28,000 cases to 48,000, is not in any of the projections that we have done," said the minister.
She also said that among the COVID-19 cases arriving from neighbouring states and abroad, 80% were infected with the Omicron variant.
Meanwhile, the health minister said that there was no shortage of ICU and oxygen beds. She said that medical colleges, which now give more importance to non-COVID treatment, would scale up COVID treatment in proportion to the rise in cases.
"There has been a dip in ICU and ventilator occupancy in the state's hospitals with regards to COVID admissions." Following a 2% dip, the current occupancy of ICUs in government hospitals is 40.5% and that of ventilators is 13.5%.
As for private hospitals, 8.28% of ICUs and 8.96% of ventilators are occupied by COVID patients.
George said that hospitalisation during this third wave was low, just 3.6% of the total cases.
The health minister has said that cancer patients and others with comorbidities, besides those who take immunosuppressants should not remain in home isolation once they contract COVID. "They should be in hospitals, " she said.
She said that those infected should shift to hospitals once the red flag signs start showing. The red flag signs she mentioned were, “excessive fatigue, tiredness and high fever” for three consecutive days.
The minister has also advised avoiding home testing to ascertain the presence of the virus. "Being non-professionals, the way the sample is collected could be faulty," she said. Nonetheless, if the home test throws up a positive result, George said the local health worker should be promptly informed.