Naveen Patnaik says Odisha govt will increase COVID-19 testing as cases cross 50,000
The chief minister also said that Odisha was among the few states providing COVID-19 treatment for free 'so that nobody suffers for want of financial resources'
As Odisha's COVID-19 caseload crossed 50,000-mark and toll mounted to 305, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday said the state government has decided to take the fight against pandemic to the next level by enhancing testing in the coming weeks.
Patnaik highlighted that Odisha was among a few states providing treatment for coronavirus free of cost so that nobody suffers for want of financial resources.
The chief minister was reviewing coronavirus situation in the state on a day when the count of positive cases has surged to 50,672 with Odisha reporting the highest single-day spike of 1876 new cases and nine fatalities, pushing the toll to 305.
The state had Tuesday tested 32,053 samples for virus.
The chief minister asked the District Collectors to lead the programme for conducting tests at sub-divisional hospitals and community health centres.
Similarly, Block Development Officers (BDOs)) and PRIs (panchayati raj institutions) should play an active role in motivating people to voluntarily come forward for examination, and launch a campaign at local levels to remove stigma against COVID-19 persons.
"We are one of the few states in the country which is providing universal care for COVID-19 patients completely free of cost.
"From testing to treatment to food, transport, accommodation, everything is provided free of cost, and the objective is that because of financial problem nobody should suffer without getting treatment in Odisha," Patnaik said.
Notwithstanding spike in infections, Patnaik said, "We have one of the highest recovery rates besides lowest fatality rates in the country."
Stating that the Odisha has been putting a brave fight against the deadly disease in the last five months and have seen successes, the chief minister said this has been possible because of the untiring efforts of the frontline workers and peoples representatives.
He said the state government has been regularly assessing the situation and preparing advance plans for creating adequate infrastructure, procuring adequate testing kits and consumables.
"In a span of three weeks, we established five plasma therapy units from scratch. Ministers have been assigned responsibilities to motivate people for plasma donation. The concept of plasma donation must be popularised at all levels," he said.
The chief minister said based on the global experiences as well as that in the different states that home isolation provides better and early healing for asymptomatic and persons with mild symptoms, the Odisha government has chosen home quarantine as the preferred mode, both in urban and rural areas.
"For persons having no facilities at home, they will be taken care of in the COVID Care Centre and Covid Care Homes", Patnaik said and emphasised that it should be promoted.
A home isolation kit comprising dos and donts, few basic medicines and a list of telephone numbers of doctors, counsellors/tele-medicine professionals and government officials should be distributed among those in home isolation to enable them call appropriate numbers regarding medical, psycho-social and other assistance when required, he said.
Patnaik stressed that fear of the disease and stigma attached with it must be removed from the minds of the people and communities so that more and more people would opt for home isolation.
"I urge public representatives and members of panchayati raj institutions to carry the message to the people against such stigmatisation," Patnaik said. The chief minister said the districts like Khurda Cuttack, Jajpur and Sundargarh needed focus in the wake of surge of positive cases in these places.
"For me and my government every life is precious and we should work towards saving more lives," Patnaik said.
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