From Our Bureau  

27th AUGUST 2020

India witnessed a big surge with 75,760 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Thursday, the highest ever for a single day, taking the country’s cumulative tally to 33,10,234. The death toll rose to 60,472, with 1,023 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

With more patients recovering and being discharged from hospitals and home isolation (in case of mild and moderate cases), India’s total COVID-19 recoveries have surpassed cross 2.5 million today.

Recovery of 25,23,771 patients has been made possible because of effective implementation of the Central Government-led policies that have been effectively implemented by the State/Union Territory governments. As many as 56,013 COVID patients have recovered in the last 24 hours. India’s Recovery Rate amongst the COVID-19 patients today stands at 76.24 percent.

India has posted nearly 18 lakh (17,97,780) recoveries than the active cases, numbering 7,25,991, which are under active medical care). The sustained high recoveries have ensured that the actual caseload of the country, viz. the active cases, comprises 21.93 percent of the total positive cases.

A focus on Standard of Care protocol as described in the Clinical Management Protocol of Ministry of Health Ministry, better skilled doctors in the ICUs and hospitals, improved ambulance services, use of non-invasive oxygen and use of investigational therapies have led to the national Case Fatality Rate (CFR) maintaining its downward slide. It has further slumped to stand at 1.83 percent today. Ten States/UTs are faring better in terms of Recovery Rate than the national average.

India’s strategic approach for COVID-19 response and management- “TEST TRACK TREAT”- emphasises the key principle of high level of testing on a sustained basis leading to early diagnosis. Timely diagnosis furnishes opportunities to isolate or hospitalise the positive cases adequately in advance for appropriate treatment. This in turn facilitates lower mortality rates and speedy recovery.   

Following this tenet, India’s cumulative tests reach nearly 3.9 crore today. 9,24,998 lakh tests were conducted in the last 24 hours across the country. This has spurred the total tests to 3,85,76,510.

The exponential rise in the country-wide has been made possible through a graded expansion of the testing lab network. The total number of labs has risen to 1,550 so far, including 993 labs in the government sector and 557 private labs. These include:

• Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs: 795 (Govt: 460 + Private: 335), TrueNat based testing labs: 637 (Govt: 499 + Private: 138) and CBNAAT based testing labs: 118 (Govt: 34 + Private: 84).

States urged to proactively limit COVID transmission and keep the mortality below 1%

Cabinet Secretary held a video conference (VC) with the Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of nine States and one UT today. The States/UT attending  the VC were Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, alongwith the Union Health Secretary, DG ICMR and Member  (Health), NITI Aayog. The VC was convened to review and discuss the COVID management and response strategy in these States/UT.

The Union Health Secretary made a detailed presentation on the current status of COVID-19 in these States/UT, with a focus on districts reporting high case fatality and the need to refine as well as strengthen approach and strategies relating to testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment, home isolation, availability of Ambulances, hospital beds, oxygen, treatment protocols, etc.

It was observed that out of the total deaths in the country in the last two weeks, 89 percent of deaths are in these 10 States/UT and hence, these States/UT need to have continued and rigorous vigil so as to contain the spread of infection as well as take steps to reduce fatalities.

The States/UT were advised to proactively take steps towards reducing case fatality to less than 1 percent across all districts focusing on : Effective containment, contact tracing & surveillance; Ensuring that at least in 80 percent of new positive cases, all close contacts should be traced and tested with 72 hours;  Ensuring a minimum of 140 tests per million per day in all districts while targeting a positivity/confirmation rate of <5 percent; Leveraging Antigen tests in containment zones / healthcare settings and retesting of all symptomatic negatives with RT-PCR; Regular monitoring of home isolation patients (tele-calling and home visits) and ensuring timely admission to healthcare facility if SPO2 level falls below the designated level; Putting in public domain the availability of beds and ambulances across COVID facilities while significantly reducing ambulance response time; Saving lives by effective clinical management of all cases;  Monitoring week-wise fatality rates for each health facility with particular focus on vulnerable patients (Comorbid, patients > 60 years’ age); Upgrading COVID dedicated facilities based on case load; Monitoring availability and usage of necessary drugs, masks and PPE kits in all facilities and Focus on Behavioral Change Communication promoting COVID appropriate behavior consisting of social distancing, wearing of masks, hand hygiene, cough etiquettes etc.

The Chief Secretaries explained about the current situation in the States/UT and their preparedness to tackle the spread of COVID-19, health infrastructure available to meet the challenge and steps taken to strengthen it further. States/UT also highlighted steps taken towards reducing case fatality as well as involving community in terms of COVID safe behaviour. (eom)

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