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CM holds meeting of experts as Gujarat reports 17k Covid cases

At the meeting, sources said that the experts advised the government about creating awareness among the public about the severity of the infection.

Written by Sohini Ghosh | Ahmedabad |
Updated: January 19, 2022 8:36:13 am
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel (File)

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Tuesday chaired a meeting with a panel of experts to assess the Covid-19 situation even as Gujarat recorded the highest single-day surge of 17,119 new cases and 10 deaths. Ahmedabad district, too, recorded a new high of 6,078 new Covid cases and three fatalities.

At the meeting, sources said that the experts advised the government about creating awareness among the public about the severity of the infection.

According to some of the experts that The Indian Express spoke to, the government was informed that daily cases in state can go up to “50,000 to about one lakh” and the peak can occur between last week of January and first week of February. The wave is expected to abate by end of February or early March, they said.

Infectious disease specialist Dr Atul Patel, Zydus hospital director and diabetologist Dr VN Shah, Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar director and public health specialist Dr Dileep Mavlankar, pulmonologist Dr Tushar Patel, anesthesiologist Dr Ami Parikh and director of UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre Dr RK Patel, were part of the panel.

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Some of the experts recommended that offline classes up to Class 9 in schools must remain closed for the next four weeks as children below 15 years are yet to be vaccinated. It was also suggested that a team of clinicians must conduct weekly meetings with a team from the genome sequencing laboratory to keep track of changing clinical manifestations of the variant in circulation.

According to sources, experts were apprised by the state government that overall hospitalisation rate has been low with approximately two per cent of the cases in hospital. Around 60 per cent of the samples were being sent for genome sequencing, they were told. The Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre has a capacity to sequence up to 20 samples per day.

The state also informed the experts that it has kept arrangements ready to set up temporary hospitals if needed, sources said.

A state government press release said that the experts made clear “the seriousness of the current state of transmission” at the meeting and that the experts recommended adoption of Covid-appropriate behaviour of social distancing, wearing masks, sanitisation as the “need of the hour”.

Dr VN Shah told The Indian Express that Covid patients are generally seen with cough, cold and bodyache, and not lung damage in most cases. “Requirement of oxygen is less as the infection is more on the upper respiratory tract (during the third wave). I don’t think there will be a huge requirement of ICU beds or ventilators. There is community spread. But this is not a simple flu, so please do not ignore your symptoms…,” he said.

“We (doctors) insist that do not go for aggressive treatment like we did during the second wave… symptomatic treatment shall suffice. There should be a full stop to Remdesivir, steroids and antiviral drugs unless there are indications,” said Shah.

According to Dr Mavlankar, genome sequencing must be undertaken strategically due to capacity constraints and emphasised on the importance of Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination coverage, especially among eligible adolescents.

Gujarat on Monday conducted 95,243 tests, pegging the daily test positivity rate at around 18 per cent. The state had earlier recorded its highest single-day surge during the second wave on April 30 with 14,605 cases. On the same day, the state had recorded 173 deaths. Ahmedabad recorded its highest single-day surge earlier on April 28 with 5,740 cases.

Win an iPhone

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on Tuesday announced that five adolescents among in 15-18 age group who took or will take a vaccine dose between January 3 and January 24, shall be eligible to win an iPhone worth Rs 60,000. Five lucky draw winners will be announced on January 26.

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