Bhubaneswar: From the biggest single-day spike of 1,353 cases on May 17 to 329 on June 14, the Odisha capital has finally been able to bring the test positivity rate (TPR) to a manageable level of 8.6 per cent.
It was on April 30 that the city’s COVID graph crossed the 1000-mark during the second wave of the pandemic. There was no let-up in cases for over 25 days with new infections hovering around 1000 and above. The TPR also shot up to over 20 per cent.
The city, which was once grappling with 12850 active cases, now has 4063 infected persons.
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) was able to achieve this through a four-pronged strategy – strengthening the COVID helpline, deciding on the treatment of patients, improving surveillance and targeted vaccination drive.
24X7, IN THREE SHIFTS
The civic body started using the 1929 helpline to monitor 80 per cent of the total active cases in home isolation during May and this was subsequently bolstered as distress calls increased. Apart from the doctors, 48 executives are now handling both the incoming and outgoing calls at the facility, which functions at the BOC of the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited’s office in BMC-Bhawani Mall, Saheed Nagar. The calls are routed through 35 work stations.
Besides helping shifting of patients in home isolation to hospitals, the helpline number is now being used for the registration of beneficiaries for doorstep sample collection and vaccination.
The outgoing calls were made to home isolation patients to know their healthcare status and it included 2,312 to Red Flag patients. “The idea behind categorizing home isolation patients into Red Flag and Green Flag cases is to monitor moderately ill and patients with mild COVID symptoms. Each Reg Flag patient gets a call from the call centre for three consecutive days along with frequent RRT, comprising doctors and frontline workers, visits to his/her homes,” a BMC press release said.
Ten doctors are allotted to each BMC zone to monitor the health condition of patients in home isolation and COVID suspects.
“This helped BMC to attend the people in home isolation, address their anxiety and the same time, reduce the load on COVID hospitals. Oxygen concentrators have been provided to 50 mild symptomatic patients in home isolation,” BMC Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Singh to the media.
To track down the hidden cases, the BMC also sent teams to markets and slums for a random collection of samples.
Apart from inoculating people in the 45+ and 18-44 age groups, the civic body carried out targeted vaccination drives for employees of the hotel, tourism, IT, food delivery and media sectors. “BMC is perhaps one of the first civic bodies to have taken such a step in the country. Medicine shopkeepers, cab drivers and delivery agents, including staff of OLA, Uber, Flipkart, Amazon, vendors and newspaper hawkers are now being administered the vaccine,” the commissioner said.
A special vaccination drive also held at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
The BMC also started ‘pick up and drop’ facility for the elderly and special camps were organised for the journalists.
While 18,000-20,000 persons are being vaccinated at 55 vaccination centres in the city daily, the civic body aims to increase the figure to 28,000-30,000 at 60 centres.
“The targeted vaccination is aimed at preparing the city to fight the pandemic once the lockdown restrictions are lifted,” he added.