Delhi govt identifies focus areas to mitigate impact of possible third wave of COVID-19

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New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) The Delhi government on Saturday said training medical staff in ICU management, engaging with IIT professors and conducting polling booth-wise programmes to vaccinate people are some of the focus areas as it prepares to tackle a possible third wave of COVID-19 in the city.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal chaired two meetings on Friday with expert and preparations committees, and made several decisions to mitigate the impact of a possible third wave, a statement from the Delhi government said on Saturday. 'The government has formulated a graded escalation plan to increase the mitigation capacity of Covid,' it said, adding that based on this, activation or re-purposing of beds, wards, other infrastructure, supply of consumeables or equipment, stopping optional surgeries, and diverting resources to other departments will be undertaken.

The Delhi government will also review the PPE kit design to make it more comfortable and lighter while ensuring full security, it said.

To ensure universal vaccination of those aged 45 years and above, Delhi will adopt a polling booth-wise approach, it said.

'The field level team comprising block level officers and civil defence volunteers would go from house to house -- booth wise -- and find out the vaccination status of those eligible for vaccination.

'The leftover eligible beneficiaries willing to get vaccinated will be registered on the Co-WIN portal and told about the vaccination facility being made available in their polling booth near their home,' it said.

Counselling will be provided to those who are hesitant or not eligible for vaccination, it said.

The Delhi government has increased the manpower in its hospitals by about 20 per cent in recent months by engaging 610 doctors, 628 nurses, and 162 paramedics, it said.

'While the second wave had a surge of 28,400 daily cases, a capacity in Delhi will be created to deal with an even higher wave. The aim is to create 36,900 Covid beds in hospitals and Community Health Centres. These will be apart from those at Covid Care Centres,' it said.

During the earlier waves, the Delhi government hospitals provided hospital care to about 20 per cent of the total patients. To manage the third wave of COVID, the mitigation capacity will be doubled by adding about 12,000 beds, the statement said.

'The focus will be on oxygen and ICU beds. The Delhi government will seek partnerships with the central government, private sector, faith organizations, and NGOs in this regard,' it said.

For nurses and doctors, the Delhi government is extending their contract engagements by six months, -- up to December 31, 2021, the statement said.

To take care of staff shortage in hospitals, the government will strengthen sanctioned strength in them, and link them with teaching hospitals (LNJP, GTB, etc.) to provide teaching experience and creating adjunct faculty, the statement said.

'For improving the availability of doctors in all hospitals, the Delhi government will introduce an internship of one year for graduating PG students in Delhi hospitals so that they can immediately start working as SRs and also gain useful functional experience,' it said.

'We will aim to train all our non-ICU medical personnel in oxygen therapy, ICU management, paediatrics healthcare, Covid care activities etc by developing about 500 master trainers in these critical areas and implement customised training programmes for over 3,000 non-ICU doctors, nurses and paramedics.

'MBBS and BDS students will be oriented for tele-consultation and non-clinical activities,' the statement added.

Top Delhi government officials have been engaging with Professor Sanjay Dhir from IIT-Delhi who had submitted his report pertaining to oxygen management in Delhi in three varied scenarios.

Professor Maninder Agarwal from IIT-Kanpur, who came up with the 'Sutra Model', which provides mathematical projection for covid spread in the country, has also been a regular guest member in the expert committee meetings, it said.

The buffer Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) storage capacity will be enhanced by 421 metric tonnes, and the LMO storage of Delhi will be increased to have at least one day buffer of the peak oxygen demand of the national capital.

An order will be issued by the government to ensure mandatory LMO storage in all hospitals linked with bed capacity benchmarks, it said, adding that every storage tank will be fixed with telemetry equipment to track the oxygen levels on a real-time basis, it said.

The government, on the basis of its consultation with experts, has decided 37,000 cases as the peak during the third wave, and based on that it will be decided as to how many oxygen cylinders will be needed, the Delhi government said, adding that it will buy many oxygen concentrators.

A team of senior doctors/specialists under DGHS will be created for effective Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and multi-modal awareness campaigns to educate the public about judicious use of drugs, and pros and cons of new drugs like Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, Monoclonal Antibody, etc to prevent indiscriminate use and over-prescription, it said.

The second wave has also led to a spurt in cases of black fungus, which experts believe is due to the indiscriminate use of steroids to treat coronavirus.

'A detailed SOP will be prepared for Covid drug administration and IEC material indicating advantages and disadvantages and usage guidelines for any special drugs such as Remdesivir, tocilizumab, etc. PTI SLB TDS TDS

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