After no fresh strategies for almost a month, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has launched another surveillance campaign apart from aggressively conducting rapid antigen tests.
The campaign that began last week to check super-spreaders has widened its reach to hair-cutting salons, which opened as part of the Unlock-1, banks and staff of Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) and Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). Fine for not wearing mask in public places was raised from Rs 200 to 500, while a penalty of Rs 10,000 was imposed on paan shops if customers were found spitting in public.
The AMC has also aggressively started conducting rapid antigen tests though officials were not willing to reveal the figures. In the surveillance and testing campaign of AMC, there are 400 teams dedicated to only sample collection. These are in addition to 120 Dhanvantri Rath and 50 teams of 104 helpline.
Additional chief secretary forest and environment department, Rajiv Kumar Gupta, who is Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at AMC, said more than 100 per cent of the city’s population of around 70 lakh were surveyed under the campaign.
Expanding its surveillance, the AMC will soon target industrial units in Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) industrial estates in Odhav and Naroda, with focus on migrant labourers. The AMC also has plans to charge industries Rs 400 to 500 per test, said a senior AMC official privy to the development.
Its home care service — Corona Ghar Seva (Home service): Sanjivani Van — for asymptomatic patients was launched on July 6 even as the cases in Ahmedabad spread to newer areas in the western city parts.
The stragedy to identify a containment zone to guidelines being followed for the residents — all have been revised periodically since April 28 when the first containment zones were declared by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
Shifting its strategy from locking out entire wards to specific residential areas, including hous-es or apartments, the AMC now looks at a concentration of 5 or more cases to declare a micro containment zone. Though it is not guided by a fixed formula, the decision depends on the concentration of cases, a senior AMC official said.
“The spread of five or more cases over different houses is now considered. This is not fixed as the containment could be within a radius of 50 metres or 100 metres depending on the concentration of cases. An entire residential society is put under containment if five cases are reported from there. But if these five cases come are from one family living in one apartment, then the apartment floor, one above it and one below it are declared as micro containment areas,” the official said.
The AMC also signed up with 42 private hospitals to keep half of their total number of beds to Covid patients referred by the civic body, due to which the major caseload has shifted to private hospitals. The AMC has also started testing all passengers entering city at entry points from eight highways including Aslali, Vadodara, Geeta Mandir, Zundal, Nana Chiloda, Sanathal.
At present, the lockdown is reviewed after 14 days. Nearly 200 areas, including entire or parts of apartments and housing societies as well as slums, are under micro containment zones.
The movement in these micro containment zones is not completely restricted unlike earlier. Residents are allowed to move for essential items from 7 am to 7 pm. Earlier, entire wards (city has total 48 wards) of the city were put under containment or red zones and marked on the city map uploaded on the official website of AMC. A general criteria of 100 cases or above from a ward was being followed initially to declare it as a red zone.
Once declared as containment, the entire ward was locked, barricaded with tin sheets, a police picket outside where the residents under containment zones were not allowed to move out or in of this zone, even for essentials.
Over a period of time from April 28 to May 31, this strategy did not apply to other wards as despite the fact that there was a spike in cases from other wards, they were not contained, especially in the Western parts.
Though there was no fixed timeline till when these wards had to be put under containment, AMC changed this strategy on May 31 with the ‘Unlock 1.0’ with a revised list of micro containment zones.
However, the AMC completely curtailed information on patients. From giving out detailed information with names of patients, their address, the distribution in government and private hospitals or Covid care centres, the flow of information has been restricted to only total number of new cases, number of patients discharged instead of indoor patients and deaths. Also, the list of micro containment zones at times has incomplete information where the apartment name without area or ward is indicated.
From the government hospitals that reached its maximum capacity towards last week of month of April forcing authorities to increase the capacity of hospitals like AMC-run SVP Hospital, in the absence of sharing the Covid patient load by private hospitals, the situation has drastically turned around within two months since private hospitals were roped in.
With over 60 private hospitals reserving 50 per cent of their capacity for AMC-referred patients and the recent home care offered by both private hospitals and AMC, at present the government hospitals in the city are less than quarter of their capacities.
As on July 9, only 21 per cent of the nearly 3,300 beds at the six government-run Covid hospitals is occupied by 700 patients. At the same time, 2,005 patients are occupying 3,745 beds at private hospitals. There are only 240 indoor patients at the Ahmedabad Civil hospital, Asarwa, the largest Covid hospital in the state, against its capacity of 1,200, as many have signed up in Ahmedabad for ho-me care. The AMC-run SVP Hos-pital has only 270 indoor patients against its capacity of 1,000 beds.
Ahmedabad has recorded a total of 24,164 cases, which is almost half the case load of the entire state that stands at 48,374. Of these, 23,111 cases are from AMC areas and 1,053 from district areas. The entire city and district has recorded 1,541 deaths. As on Sunday, AMC had 3,193 active cases, with the highest number in western parts of the city.
Average testing in Ahmedabad city and district in June was 1,804 per day, the total in the month being 54,124. Average testing in July, till July 18 was 1,760, the total in the month so far being 28,168.
INPUTS FROM SOHINI GHOSH
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