Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan reiterated that the state is well prepared to handle the current patient load and Punjab government has partnered with the private healthcare sector to ensure greater coverage and better utilization of the available resources in the state for the benefit of the patients.
Divulging the details, she said COVID Response in Punjab is founded on the pillars of preparedness, inter-sectoral coordination, intensive surveillance, strict containment, capacity building and comprehensive patient management. All desired diagnostic and drug therapy facilities have been ensured at both level 2 and Level 3 facilities. The level 2 facilities in the state are well prepared to handle the current patient load with more than 60% beds even lying vacant in the top 4 districts with the highest COVID-19 caseload cumulatively – i.e. Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar.
At level 3 facilities in these 4 districts, cumulatively more than 40% beds are currently unoccupied. Although given the current spurt of cases, the occupancy of hospital/ICU beds by critically ill patients is increasing, the situation is far from being as grave as mentioned in some news reports. While it is possible that some individual centers may report full occupancy at times, there is a strong mechanism in place at the district level to ensure that patients are referred immediately to another centre with sufficient beds and given the best possible medical care.
Further, the Government of Punjab has designated dedicated officers, called COVID Patient Tracking Officers (CPTOs) for patient tracking, who monitor every person that tests positive right from the time that the test result comes till the completion of treatment. Similarly, senior IAS and PCS officers have also been made incharge of tertiary care and Level 3 facilities to ensure that there is optimal utilization of resources. She informed that Punjab government has also partnered with the private healthcare sector to ensure greater coverage and better utilization of the available resources in the state for the benefit of the patients. Moreover, the state authorities are keeping a close eye on the situation and appropriate steps are being undertaken to ensure sufficient availability of beds/ ICUs for COVID-19 patients. The live bed status availability will also be made available to the general public shortly on the COVA App.
While it is true that there is a spurt in the number of COVID 19 positive cases, it has been limited to major cities including Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, and Patiala. It is primarily driven by the easing of the lockdown restrictions, ramping up of testing facilities and also because of non-observance of the Government directives such as use of mask, maintaining social distancing, following protocol for coughing or sneezing, etc. It is again reiterated that, the citizens have to take ownership of the mission to defeat this virus and follow all precautions to avoid getting infected. It is also important for the public to call 104 or report to the nearest testing facility in case of even the slightest suspicion of COVID symptoms. Punjab has already ramped up its testing capacity to almost about 20,000 tests per day.
Chief Secretary reiterated that as we respond to the pandemic, the State is fully committed to ensuring that our dedicated COVID-19 healthcare facilities have the resources needed to continue providing care to critically ill patients across the state.