The Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam today chaired a meeting to take stock of the efforts toward mitigating COVID-19 pandemic and review the related Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and policies.Administrative Secretaries of departments of Health & Medical Education, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM) participated in the meeting.Divisional Commissioners of Jammu, Kashmir and Director, SKIMS, Directors of Health Services, Jammu/Kashmir, Principal, GMC, Srinagar along with other HoDs attended the meeting through video conference.Chief Secretary complimented the divisional administration of Jammu province for effectively implementing hospital referral policy to ensure optimal utilization of resources, wherein the tertiary hospitals would only admit critical COVID patients being referred from district hospitals. Directions were issued for daily monitoring of COVID admissions, testing, discharges and bed occupancy across the COVID care institutions.While reviewing the discharge policy, Chief Secretary informed that the policy has been successful in lessening the burden on the tertiary health care system in Kashmir province- which has seen a recent surge in critically ill COVID patients. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir was directed to strictly implement home quarantine guidelines for asymptomatic patients and ensure that they are free of co-morbidity and provided with Government sponsored oxymeters, before being sent to home quarantine, besides using Arogya Setu app to monitor their status.
Observing that the patient load in Jammu province has remained stable and in view of the recent spike in cases as a result of contacts with COVID positive patients, Chief Secretary directed Health Department to modify the discharge policy and allow institutionalized quarantine for asymptomatic patients in Jammu province.Chief Secretary underscored the importance of aggressive testing for early medical intervention and asked the concerned to work out a ‘Red Zone testing strategy’ focusing on vulnerable patients including children, old aged, pregnant ladies, patients with Influenza like Illness (ILI), Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI), co-morbid conditions, service providers, drivers and healthcare professionals. “The Rapid Antigen Test in addition to RTPCR can be used for cleansing and securing a red/containment zone by testing all probable contacts of patients and vulnerable population in the area”, he said.Directions were issued for close monitoring of COVID trajectory with special focus on spread of infection through travelers, primary and secondary contacts. Health department was asked to conduct serological surveys to ascertain spread of infection in both the provinces. Chief Secretary also directed Health department to issue advisory to all private health care institutions to compulsorily test all their symptomatic patients including those with Influenza like Illness (ILI), Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) and co-morbid conditions.In view of expected resumption of religious pilgrimage, directions were issued to ramp up the testing capacities at all arrival points including airport and railway stations.