As West Bengal struggles to keep Covid-related deaths under control, the state government has turned to phone calls to check on elderly coronavirus patients with co-morbidities who are in home quarantine.
At 1.86 per cent, West Bengal has the second highest Covid death rate in the country after Maharashtra’s 2.6 per cent while the national average hovers around 1.5 per cent.
A fortnight ago, the Health Department launched a round-the-clock call centre to ensure timely hospitalisation of elderly Covid-19 patients if they face any health complications. A Health Department official said the decision was taken after several reports suggested that most Covid-related deaths were due to late admission to hospitals.
“To resolve this, we are depending on phone monitoring. We work 24X7 and call those who are above 50 and have comorbidities. We tell them about dos and don’ts. If anyone has complications, we send doctors or take other necessary action,” said the official. Call centre employees ring up 500 patients daily. Officials said this
method has brought down the death rate.
“We are getting good results. In last one month, more than 60 people died of the coronavirus daily. But, in the last one week, this number has fallen below 60,” said the official.
According to the state database, 84 per cent of the 7,177 patients who died of Covid till November 6 had comorbidities. “So, if we can regularly monitor such people, we can save their lives,” said that official.
Though the Durga Puja period did not witness a major spike in Covid-19 cases, the state government is wary that resumption of suburban trains from November 11 and upcoming festivals may reverse the gains. The Calcutta High Court has recently lauded the government for its handling of coronavirus during Puja.
According to a recent report of the Union Health Ministry, 65 per cent of the total Covid deaths in India were recorded from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
In West Bengal, Kolkata, South 24 Paraganas, North Dinajpur, Nadia, Darjeeling, South Dinajpur, Purulia, Cooch Behar and Bankura are the worst-Covid hit districts.
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