With 3,400 Covid -19 deaths, almost 60 percent during the second wave, and fatality even higher than the national average of 1.29 %, Himachal Pradesh has set for itself a time-line to put in place requisite infrastructure for combating the third wave.
The arrangements being worked out are focused on the target group, mainly the children, who are likely to be severely affected by the pandemic as suggested by the medical experts in the country.
Himachal Health minister Dr Rajiv Saizal said, “A full-fledged action plan will be framed by the state on the basis of experts’ advice. There will be a five-tier system in place, largely based on upgraded dedicated Covid care facilities in the government hospitals. A time line has already been given to the authorities to make all facilities ready by July 31, meaning thereby August 1,2021”.
The facilities being created include ICU beds, fully oxygenated beds, beds with proper ventilator facility, isolation beds and neo-natal beds keeping in mind the specialised needs of the children.
Maintaining proper supply chain of medicines, emergency drugs, oxygen and ambulance facilities will be another key area of focus, he says.
The state government, Dr Saizal said, had set-up a high-level committee to advise the government on medical interventions and creation of facilities, apart from supply chain management of the crucial services and critical drugs such as Tocilizumab, Remdesivir etc. during the third wave.
The government has already started training the para medical staff, who will be performing the duties to treat Covid patients in the third wave.
Health minister admits that the Covid second wave has already caused a very high toll in the state as intensity of Pandemic was five times higher than the first wave. The people, he opines, had become careless after the first-time and did not maintain a Covid appropriate behaviour like social distancing and masks.
“But, now there will be an added worry about the children, which is the only section, not yet covered under the vaccination drive, thus will be vulnerable to the infection as virus is mutating every time,” said Dr Saizal.
Unlike, earlier mistakes like big fat weddings, religious congregations and going to crowded places or gatherings must be strictly avoided
Asked if he feels that Covid -19 was retreating from the state, Dr Saizal said " the coronavirus is completely unpredictable pandemic. We still have 3000 plus active cases. The fatality rate has been high. The government is keeping a close watch on the situation. It is difficult to say anything with certainty. The people are, thus, being advised to strictly follow the SoPs ".
Meanwhile Amitabh Awasthi said the government has decided to achieve target of 100 percent vaccination in the state’s entire tribal belt, besides the remote and landlocked areas of Dodra-Kawar (Shimla), Chhota Bengal and Bara Bengal areas in Kangra.
“There will be a walk-in facility for 18-44 yr age groups in these areas from June 21 onwards. The centre has already made available sufficient doses of vaccine for this category.” he said.
“A robust strategy has been put in place to avoid any mixing of beneficiary from June 21 to June 30 2021. The directions have been issued to the districts fixing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for 18–44-year age groups and next three days for the 45 year and above groups “said Awasthi.