Srinagar, Aug 28 (PTI) A central team of experts on Friday lauded the Jammu and Kashmir government's COVID-19 containment and mitigation measures, saying the testing strategy across the Union Territory is aggressive and robust which has helped in containing the spread of the disease.
The two-member central team comprising NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Chief S K Singh, which is on a visit to Kashmir to take stock of the overall COVID situation in the valley, called on Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Raj Bhavan here, an official spokesman said.
He said the two-member team held a detailed review of the situation emerging in the valley due to COVID pandemic with all the district teams and tertiary care hospitals.
While briefing the Lt Governor about the assessment they made on the ground, the two-member team lauded the UT government's COVID containment and mitigation measures that are in place and suggested supplementary measures to further augment the same.
They appreciated the J&K government's testing strategy, mandatory traveller screening, and homecare model for positive asymptomatic patients, the spokesman said.
Testing strategy across the UT is aggressive and robust and it has helped in containing the spread of the disease, the team said.
The spokesman said the central team acknowledged that J&K has a vigorous three dimensional COVID containment strategy that is primary preventive, containment, and surveillance to arrest the spread and management for reducing the mortality rate, which is playing an important role in effectively dealing with the COVID pandemic.
In view of the impending winter season and sudden spike of positive cases in some districts of J&K, the team suggested a host of immediate measures including establishing 24x7 COVID counselling call centres at divisional levels with technical teams, strengthening the contact tracing mechanism with all contacts to be home quarantined until they test negative, micro-containment plan in cities with 100 per cent testing of all inhabitants with strict perimeter control and to strengthen the referral system from peripheral hospitals to tertiary care hospitals.
They also suggested involvement of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in rural areas for COVID control efforts, continuing the high testing trend and build on same and increasing high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) inventory and keeping sufficient stock in stores, the spokesman said.
The LG observed that all the important suggestions and recommendations made by the central team will play an important role in comprehensive and effective management of the COVID-19 situation in J&K, he said.
The LG called for heightened awareness to keep the infection low and immediate capacity augmentation, besides utilisation of every available resource to arrest the mortality rate, the spokesman said.
Sinha asked the health functionaries to formulate comprehensive future management and containment strategy of COVID-19 pandemic in the UT and stressed on carrying out intensive surveillance and testing, particularly in red zones and inviting renewed participation of PRIs, religious leaders and other distinguished personalities to spread awareness.
The spokesman said Sinha called for sustained efforts from all the stakeholders for effectively combating the spread of COVID-19 and maintained that strict compliance of all healthcare protocols and SOPs notified by the central and the UT government must be ensured to mitigate the threat of the deadly virus.
The Lt Governor laid special emphasis on ensuring 100 per cent coverage of Aarogya Setu app and asked for its integration with ITIHAS system, to improve contact tracing and surveillance of positive cases and its geo-mapping must be done to predict hotspots, the spokesman said.
He said the LG also gave directions for putting in place a robust mechanism and taking all requisite measures to ensure the safety of frontline COVID warriors including doctors, paramedics, medical professionals and security forces who are also at high risk of catching the infection.
Various valuable suggestions were made during the meeting including setting up 24x7 tele-medicine/e-support centres for providing support of senior doctors, clinicians and community medicine professionals to the frontline medical professional working on ground, a similar e-support system of medical professionals and psychologists for home care patients to avoid any mental and psychological fatigue to overcome the disease, improving the ambulance response time for its immediate availability in rural and urban areas, the spokesman said.
He said the team also suggested for evolving scientific learning community, wherein each medical college including SKIMS can provide necessary scientific handholding to a minimum of three districts with regular update of scientific information that would also prove to be helpful in mortality management.
For rural areas, suggestions were made for devising an institutionalised mechanism like village monitoring committees including PRIs, anganwadi workers and others for tracking incoming travellers and positive cases. Strengthening of IEC measures and revamping ICUs and utilisation of the available resources to their full capacity was also suggested, the spokesman said. PTI SSB MIJ HDA