Localised measures help to limit COVID-19 spread in Puducherry

Ramping up testing has been critical in managing the pandemic, says official

While COVID-19 cases have been on a declining trend overall, the spread of COVID-19 in a few pockets of Puducherry has prompted containment responses that are more localised yet intensive in these areas.

Puducherry has accounted for 82% of the 601 deaths in the U.T. and 81% of the cumulative COVID-19 case load with a tally of 29,239 cases against the aggregate of 35,838 cases.

As of Sunday, the Union Territory had 258 patients in institutional care and 514 patients in home isolation.

Small pockets

While the numbers have been coming down in the region as a whole, some areas have been reporting relatively higher numbers. Among these areas are Reddiarpalayam, Sultanpet and Villianur.

“Thankfully, the spread is not rampant and volumes not abnormally high to qualify these areas as clusters. We have sent in mobile testing teams apart from deploying a two-pronged approach of strengthening information, education and communication campaigns and enforcement of safety norms,” T. Arun, Health Secretary, said.

In Sultanpet, for instance, seven of the eight new cases that were reported in a 24-hour span, were traced to a nearby shopping locations. Following this, Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi had recently instructed the District Collector to instruct traders to comply with safety protocols.

According to the official, ramping up testing has been critical in controlling the pandemic and reducing deaths through early hospitalisation of symptomatic patients.

“We have been able to do this by taking testing closer to the location of the residents by forming mobile teams. The completion of over 3 lakh tests roughly translates to having at least one member of every family undergo a test,” Mr. Arun said.

Stopped referrals

At this stage of the pandemic curve, Puducherry has stopped referrals to the additionally inducted COVID-19 hospitals, including the Government Dental College and the six private medical colleges. “Currently, about 90% of oxygen beds and 95% of regular beds at the two COVID-19-designated hospitals are free,” the Health Secretary said.

Officials are keeping their fingers crossed though with the Deepawali festival looming near. The festival, which is exuberantly celebrated in these parts, will be a marker of how the public has assimilated the safety messaging, an official said.

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