The Union Home Secretary, Ajay Kumar Bhalla, today chaired a high level meeting to review the management of COVID-19 pandemic in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.Chief Secretary, J&K, B V R Subrahmanyam, Financial Commissioner, H&ME, Atal Dulloo, Additional Secretary (UT), Govind Mohan, Joint Secretary, Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary (JK), Manish Tiwari and Mission Director (NHM), Bhupinder Kumar were present in the meeting.At the outset, Health and Medical Education Department gave a presentation on prevailing situation in the UT. The meeting was informed that J&K is performing reasonably well in mitigating COVID-19 pandemic with 53,323 tests per million population, 1,746 cases per million population, doubling rate of 27.2 days, 3.3% positivity rate, 61.3% recovery rate, and 1.8% mortality rate. It was mentioned that the UT has so far conducted 6.5 lakh tests and currently has 21,416 confirmed cases, 7893 active cases, 13,127 recovered cases and 396 deaths.Union Home Secretary while reviewing the COVID death audit report observed that most of the critical patients die within 72 hours of hospitalization. He emphasized on the need to tackle the issue.
Regarding testing capacities, Chief Secretary said that the related infrastructure has been ramped up and against the WHO recommendation of 140 tests per million population per day, J&K is now conducting 900 tests per million per day. For this, 5 additional testing laboratories, 4 CBNAAT facilities and 15 TRUENAT laboratories were established in government medical institutions, besides, augmenting the RTPCR tests with Rapid Antigen Tests. Further, the Government is also in the process of procuring 3 COBAS 6800 fully automated systems to enhance per day testing capacity, which is currently at 12,000 tests per day.Further, Chief Secretary informed that the Government has recently revised home quarantine guidelines to permit such isolation in favour of asymptomatic patients with no co-morbidity and have Arogya Setu app downloaded for better monitoring, adding that they are being provided with Government sponsored oxymeters with the instruction of reporting to hospitals if their oxygen saturation level dips below 90%. “This will reduce the burden on healthcare institutions and will pave way to better monitoring of critical cases”, he said.While sharing the data on surge of bilateral pneumonia cases in the valley, Chief Secretary sought help of the Union Government through a technical team of experts for analysing such cases and advising on probable containment of its spread.