Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, on Wednesday, said that the Gujarat government has been able to bring down the weekly death rate and bring up the recovery rate with regard to Covid cases in the state, owing to concerted efforts and surveillance.
Patel said that the weekly death rate, which was 6.5 per cent in the months of March and April, has come down to 1.5 per cent in July.
Similarly, he added, the recovery rate which was initially 30 per cent has now gone up to 70 per cent.
The number of positive cases reported from the state were between 100-300 in March and April, which have risen to 800-900 in June and July. The latter period also witnessed the case load shift from the urban centre of Ahmedabad to Surat, which has lately been reporting the highest single day spike.
Patel was addressing mediapersons in Gandhinagar while declaring key indicators to showcase the improvement in Gujarat’s performance in dealing with Covid-19.
The Deputy CM, who is also the state health minister, said that the rate of infection in Ahme-dabad has gone down. However, he added, cases have now started coming from areas where there was no or lesser infection earlier, and the government has started sending senior officials to these areas.
For example, Patel said, Chief Secretary Anil Mukim recently visited Mehsana, Patan and Banaskantha districts. Similarly, other top officials such as Principal Secretary (Health) Jayanti Ravi, Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Pankaj Kumar and Health Commissioner Jai Prakash Shivhare have started visiting various places in Saurashtra region and south Gujarat.
“There was a difficult time when we were busy putting things in order. Everyday, around 50 people were dying of Covid. Now, we have increased facilities, modified the protocol of medicines, made available costlier medicines and injections and involved expert doctors. We could bring down the death rate from 50 to 15,” Patel said.
“Earlier, the number of cases was doubling in nine days. Now, it has gone up to 32 days. We could decrease the infection to that level.”.
The Deputy CM gave great credit to active surveillance in the state through Dhanvantari Raths, in which health workers go to various places and treat people for illnesses and screen suspected Covid patients. He said that currently, 925 such Dhanvantari Raths are providing services across the state and have scanned around 1.25 lakh people so far.
Patel said that Gujarat had initially started a 1,200-bed Covid hospital in Ahmedabad but now, there are 42,051 beds for Covid patients in the entire state. This includes 10,377 beds having an oxygen facility and 3,250 ICU beds. A total of 2,231 ventilators have been made available to the public to fight the pandemic, he added. Patel said that even the Supreme Court has praised the Gujarat model, wherein 50 per cent of beds in several private hospitals have been requisitioned for free treatment to Covid patients.
“Whatever we could do, surveillance was very important. Apart from Dhanvantari Raths, we have 4,910 functional teams of health workers. Each team has two health workers, one ASHA worker and if available, an AYUSH doctor. They visit people at their doorstep and check for illnesses. Each team is given a pulse oximeter,” Patel said.
The state government has also taken a decision wherein a person can get himself tested at a private laboratory if an MBBS doctor prescribes the same, he said.
He added that the state government is getting inquiries on guidelines to be followed in various upcoming religious and social events such as the holy Hindu month of Shravan, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri, Diwali, etc. “Am appropriate decision on these issues will be taken in consultation with the Centre at the relevant time, while keeping people’s health as the top priority,” Patel said.
Replying to a question related to the discrepancy in death data, Patel said that the Gujarat government was not hiding any data and it was available for everyone to see. He also said that if a person who has tested positive for coronavirus with comorbidities dies, then it is considered as a coronavirus death.
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