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Death toll climbing, Surat Municipal Corporation holds combing ops, vaccination drives

The city has also been among the highest medical oxygen consumers compared to Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara.

Written by Kamaal Saiyed | Surat |
April 23, 2021 3:27:44 am
A team of paramedics do rounds in an electric car checking for Covid patients who require emergency attention, at Civil hospital in Ahmedabad. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has identified 60 areas to conduct combing operations to detect Covid-19 cases and simultaneous vaccination of those above 45 years old in Surat city that has been grappling with highest number of deaths in the state due to the coronavirus in the past week.

The city has also been among the highest medical oxygen consumers compared to Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara.

Surat, a migrant labour intensive city that had its brush with plague in the early nineties, is also the only city that has done 25 door-to door surveillance drives since the pandemic struck.

Since mid-March this year, a spike is seen in the number of Covid cases and deaths in the Surat city. In five days from April 17 to 21, Surat city recorded 8,949 positive cases and 127 deaths, while 49,462 have been vaccinated so far.

Surat Municipal Commissioner BN Pani said, “We are carrying out combing operations in the city. This micro-level intensive search involve more number of teams.”

Explaining in detail on how the area is identified for the operation, SMC Deputy Health Commissioner Dr Ashish Naik said, “We check the number of positive cases in the area, number of calls made to 108 ambulance services to take Covid patients to hospital, number of calls made on 104 helpline services for Covid treatment, active cases and number of triage area cases (where a patient brought to government hospital is identified as mild, moderate or serious), to decide the combing areas.”

According to Naik, 12-15 teams would be deployed to cover around1,000 homes in a day. “Dhanvantri Raths and mobile medical vans are also deployed at different locations. The teams do active surveillance of each house. They take details on symptoms, senior citizens in the household, details of members above 45 years and comorbidities. If a person is found with cough, cold or fever, a health team reaches out to the patient.”

At the entry and exit locations and also in the junctions of the area, random testing of people through RAT is done so that those who are asymptomatic can be identified, he added.

“Vaccination is also done in the area in municipal schools or private clinics. Those found positive are put in home quarantine or sent to covid care centres or hospitals depending on the whether they have mild, moderate or severe symptoms,” said Naik.

A mobile application then keeps a tab on patients under home isolation. “The society president and other residents are also intimated to keep vigil on them and inform the SMC officer if they step out,” he added.

According to Pani, the SMC decided on this aggressive surveillance as “people have felt that Covid had ended”. “They became careless and abandoned Covid-appropriate behavior… people even attended marriages and parties without maintaining social distancing or wearing masks… leading to the rise in cases. Even Holi was celebrated without following Covid guidelines. Also, people are not getting tested. We are requesting the textile and diamond industry people to get more people tested in their factories and business places.”

He said since the pandemic, Surat city has been surveyed around 25 times. “Our teams of 2,500 people ake 20 days to finish survey of the entire city. Our Covid recovery rate is 80.27 per cent,” Pani added.

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