May 22, 2021 8:40:11 am
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has written to the costal districts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and the Andamans, asking them to review emergency services in hospitals and set up a control room in the wake of a cyclonic storm that is expected to hit the coast of Odisha and West Bengal on May 26.
The low-pressure area is likely to form over the North Andaman Sea and may intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24. It is likely to move northwestwards and reach near the Odisha-West Bengal coast by May 26.
Bhushan said that health facilities, at all levels, in the affected areas, including those identified for Covid-19 treatment, need to be made fully functional with additional human resources being drawn from the unaffected districts.
“The district surveillance units and public health teams mobilized for Covid-19 management need to be reoriented on the possible outbreak of epidemic-prone diseases such as influenza, measles, acute diarrhoeal disease, dysentery, dengue, malaria,” Bhushan wrote.
He also directed that advance planning should be done for ensuring the unhindered movement of oxygen tankers. “There should be adequate power backup arrangements for all the hospitals, labs, vaccine cold chain, oxygen generation units, and other supportive medical facilities,” Bhushan’s letter read.
Bhushan further stated that block administration offices should identify health facilities in low-lying areas of districts and medical stores on the ground floors should be shifted to higher floors to avoid damage. “Medical care and public health interventions need to be planned for camps housing evacuated population. Rapid antigen testing may be taken up for population in camps followed by RT-PCR testing for symptomatic negatives of Rapid Antigen tests,” he added.
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