Updated: July 16, 2020 11:25:48 pm
Anticipating a surge in Covid-19 cases in the next few weeks based on the current infection curve, Kerala is moving fast to set up 100-bed first line treatment centres (FLTCs) in every panchayat, to accommodate those with mild or no symptoms.
This will keep the rush away from the frontline Covid-19 hospitals, where the critical cases can be admitted, the government said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Thursday that district administrations, working with local bodies, are taking over auditoriums and community halls in every panchayat and municipality to set up the FLTCs. The government has allotted Rs 10 crore each to district collectors for this.
In districts like Ernakulam, FLTCs have been functioning over the past one month, housing a bulk of Covid-19 patients. When a patient turns critical, she is immediately taken to the nearest Covid-19 hospital for advanced care.
A majority of the cases – as high as 60% – in Kerala are asymptomatic, and therefore require only primary supportive care. Early detection of such cases and timely medical care has been proven to lower mortality rate to a large extent.
Also, with FLTCs, a situation like Delhi or Mumbai, where critical Covid-19 patients had to run pillar to post searching for beds, can be averted.
On Thursday, Kerala registered 722 new infections, taking the overall case tally past 10,000. The number of active cases stands at 5,372, with 4,862 recoveries. Thirty-seven people have succumbed to the infection so far in the state.
While in May and June, most cases were those who came from abroad and other states in the country, the situation has changed since. Among the 722 new infections on Thursday, 481 are through primary or secondary contact with at least 34 cases without a clear epidemiological link. Experts believe a rise in such cases without a clear origin of infection points to community spread.
CM Vijayan said the infections are still restricted to 84 clusters across the state, among which 10 are large community clusters like Ponnani in Malappuram district, Chellanam in Ernakulam and Poonthura in Thiruvananthapuram. He said the spread of the infection is associated with market-places, business-centres and hospitals.
“As a result of the tireless efforts and alacrity of our society, we have been successful in keeping the deaths per million under one…but if there are loopholes in our defences, it may lead to a huge disaster. We cannot afford to make any mistake on the back of misinformation,” the CM said.
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