Amid Warnings, Odisha Bracing For Third Wave Of Covid-19
Even as the daily count of fresh positive Covid 19 cases in the state has stayed below the 1,000 mark for the last few days, Odisha is already bracing up for the third wave of the pandemic expected to peak around October. With projections by the Centre painting a scary picture of the spread of the virus in the third phase, the state is in the process of a massive augmentation of its health infrastructure and preparedness.
Projections made by the Centre under its Emergency Covid Response and Health System Preparedness Phase-II (ECRP-II) package suggest that the number of fresh positive cases could touch close to 20, 000 at the peak of the third wave, far above the peak of 12, 852 reached during the second wave on May 22 this year. The average daily caseload during the third phase could be around 10, 217, way above the 6, 865 recorded during the second wave lasting from April 1 to June 15. Of the 7, 66, 275 new positive cases during this phase, up to 1.76 lakh may need hospitalization of whom 22, 988 may require ICU facilities, the projections show.
To meet the challenge of the third wave, the state government has drawn up a blueprint to utilize the Rs 800 crore it has received from the Centre under ECRP-II to augment and upgrade health care facilities in the state. While Rs 139 crore has been earmarked for the creation of additional beds for Covid care in 245 community health centres (CHCs) and 555 primary health centres (PHCs), Rs 124.69 crores would be spent on the creation of 740 more ICU beds with a particular focus on paediatric ICUs. Rs 94.93 crores has been set aside for the procurement of RT-PCR and rapid antigen test kits while Rs 53.82 cores would be spent on ambulance support for Covid patients. Rs 176 crores has been set aside for the creation of 28 field hospitals at 18 district headquarters hospitals (DHHS) and select sub-divisional hospitals (SDHs) and CHCs.
Additional chief secretary (health) Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra has written to collectors of all districts to ensure that work on the augmentation of healthcare facilities under ECRP-II is taken up on a far footing and completed before December and stay prepared for the emerging situation till March 2122.
Having learnt its lesson after dismantling much of the infrastructure created during the first phase of the pandemic and thus getting caught off-guard when the second and more severe phase came in April, the government is not taking any chances this time.
Odisha recorded 849 fresh positive cases during the last 24 hours, of which as many as 130 are in the 0-18 years age group. Ever since the state started recording cases in this age group separately on August 15, the number of cases in this age bracket has consistently stayed above 100 even as the number of daily positive cases has started falling. This has been the cause of headaches for the state government.