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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Punjab’s third sero survey this month, to focus on children in 6-17 age group

It will be Punjab's third sentinel sero-surveillance survey and the only one in the country so far to assess the prevalence of the infection among children. Sero surveys or sero prevalence studies are based on analysis of antibodies collected through blood samples.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: July 20, 2021 7:55:09 pm
The CM, meanwhile, ordered establishment of a paediatric unit in each district and one centre of excellence in paediatrics for the state. (File photo)

The Punjab government will launch this month a sero survey especially focused on children in the age group of 6 to 17 years, ahead of a possible third Covid wave, Chief Minister Capt Amarimder Singh Tuesday said.

It will be Punjab’s third sentinel sero-surveillance survey and the only one in the country so far to assess the prevalence of the infection among children. Sero surveys or sero prevalence studies are based on analysis of antibodies collected through blood samples.

Amarinder Singh said the outcome of the survey will be utilised to determine further localised restrictions as the state prepares for the third wave. GIS-based surveillance and prevention tools will be used with an auto trigger mechanism for localised restrictions, he said during a review meeting.

Dr KK Talwar, head of Punjab’s expert committee on Covid-19, said in the first and second waves, 10 per cent of those infected were under 18 and while there was no concrete data to support such a projection, the state was preparing to handle more cases of children in the third wave.

The CM, meanwhile, ordered establishment of a paediatric unit in each district and one centre of excellence in paediatrics for the state.

While announcing Rs 331 crore for a possible third wave, in addition to the money already allotted for emergency Covid response, the CM said the government will establish liquid medical oxygen storage tanks in every district to ensure round the clock availability of the life-saving gas. Medical gas pipeline systems will also be set up at each district and sub-division level, he said. He also announced the establishment of 17 additional RT-PCR labs. ICU beds in government hospitals will also be increased to 142, and a hub and spoke model for telemedicine and teleconsultation will also be established, he added.

The CM expressed satisfaction over the strategy for the preparation of the third wave, pointing out that testing has been maintained around 40,000- 45,000 a day, with special focus on high density areas and vulnerable population. Contact tracing has also been maintained at 18 per positive patient.

Talwar further informed the meeting that Punjab was currently in a comfortable situation though the fear of a third wave continued, with the Indian Council of Medical Research predicting it by end of August or start of September. The situation may not be as bad as in the second wave unless a new variant comes before that, he noted. He, however, stressed the need for extreme caution with crowds building up even as cases were on the rise in some states.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal said that the process of modifications in COVA had started for capturing of required parameters, linked to sample collection and reporting system outside ICMR system. The same was likely to be functional in a week.

The CM also announced extension of benefits of existing schemes for persons with disability to those suffering from any disability caused by mucormycosis. The benefits will be extended as per the nature and degree of the disability, he said.

He also directed the Medical Education Department to establish post-Covid care centres in government medical college hospitals for free follow-up of the cured cases of mucormycosis.

Though mucormycosis cases had declined, with only 3-4 cases reported per day last week, he directed the concerned departments to monitor the situation and keep close tabs on patients recovering from Covid.

Earlier, Amarinder asked the Health Department to expedite recruitments for all posts for which Cabinet approval has already been taken. He said he was happy to note that data cells have been activated in each district. The newly recruited community medicine specialists posted in each district must be immediately given charge of these data cells, he ordered.

He also directed that the Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) Lab at GMCH Patiala should become functional this month. The meeting was informed that the equipment was likely to be received by July 25 and the concerned Staff from VRDL Patiala has gone to NEERI, Nasik for hands on training for three days for WGS testing.

Health Minister Balbir Sidhu and Medical Education & Research Minister OP Soni briefed the Chief Minister on the situation in hospitals.

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