Centre tells 16 districts in Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana to raise COVID-19 testing amid high mortality rate

Districts that are reporting COVID-19 mortality higher than the national and states' average are a 'cause of concern', the Union Health Ministry said as India's toll rose to 41,585

Press Trust of India August 08, 2020 00:27:56 IST
Centre tells 16 districts in Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana to raise COVID-19 testing amid high mortality rate

New Delhi: With 16 districts in four states reporting COVID-19 mortality higher than the national and their respective state average, the Centre on Friday advised them to increase tests per million population and reduce case confirmation percentage in addition to ensuring availability of ambulances with a target of zero refusal.

Districts that are reporting COVID-19 mortality higher than the national and states' average are a cause of concern, the Union Health Ministry said as India's toll due to the disease climbed to 41,585, according to its data updated at 8 am.

The 16 districts are Ahmedabad and Surat in Gujarat; Belagavi, Bengaluru urban, Kalaburagi and Udupi in Karnataka; Chennai, Kanchipuram, Ranipet, Theni, Thiruvallur, Tiruchirappalli, Tuticorin and Virudhnagar in Tamil Nadu; and Hyderabad and Medchal–Malkajgiri in Telangana.

"Apart from the higher case mortality, these districts account for 17 percent of India's active cases, high daily new cases, low tests per million, and high confirmation percentage," the ministry said.

As part of Centre-state coordinated strategy for effective containment and management of the COVID-19 pandemic, a high level virtual meeting was chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to engage with the district and state administration in order to analyse the factors driving the high COVID-19 mortality and devise ways and means to reduce it, the ministry said.

Principal Secretary (Health) and Mission Director of National Health Mission (NHM) from the four states along with district surveillance officers, district collectors, commissioners of the municipal corporation, Chief Medical Officers, and Medical Superintendent of Medical Colleges participated in the meeting.

The districts were advised to ensure that the advisories, guidelines and clinical treatment protocols issued by the Health Ministry are adopted and effectively implemented to reduce the mortality among COVID-19 patients and other preventable deaths among all sections of the people, particularly those with comorbidities, pregnant women, the elderly and children.

"Following the Continuum of Care approach, as sincere containment and surveillance efforts have a bearing on the case mortality, states were advised to ensure optimum capacity utilization of testing labs, increase tests per million population and reduce confirmation percentage, in addition to ensuring timely availability of ambulances with target zero refusal," the ministry said.

They were also advised to analyze availability and need for projected beds and oxygen, and plan in a timely manner. It was pointed out to them that it was critical to ensure good infection prevention and control practices to control infection in the healthcare workers.

Registering a record 62,538 cases in 24 hours, India's COVID-19 tally galloped past 20 lakh on Friday, while the death toll climbed to 41,585 with 886 people succumbing to the infection in 24 hours, the ministry''s data updated at 8 am showed.

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