As cases surge, more FLTCs to be opened

Corporation is operating five treatment centres in Thiruvananthapuram

The city Corporation is set to open more COVID -19 first-line treatment centres (FLTCs) with the sharp increase over the past few days in the number of positive cases in the district as well as in the number of those requiring more than just home quarantining. At present, the civic body is operating five such centres in the city, with three of them being first-line treatment centres and two of them being secondary treatment centres, which have doctors as well as other equipment.

The FLTCs which had very low occupancy for months had witnessed the entry of more people in recent weeks, with the occupancy reaching up to 50% by last week. However, on Friday, Corporation officials said the occupancy levels had crossed 80% with the positive cases in the district jumping to 800, from around 500 in the previous day. The Corporation’s FLTCs are located at the Institute of Management in Governance near PMG, shooting range at Vattiyurkavu, and a centre at Manvila. The secondary care centres are at the Homeo Hospital at Iranimuttam and at the Railway Hospital in Pettah. Across the five centres, 374 beds are available, out of which 309 were filled by Friday.

“The Corporation will be opening more FLTCs considering the increase in the number of positive cases in recent days. Though more people prefer to get quarantined at home, quite a few are coming from nearby panchayats too,” Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Secretary Binu Francis told The Hindu.

Last year’s figures

In the initial days of COVID-19 outbreak last year, the Corporation had opened eight FLTCs and 34 institutional quarantine centres. The Corporation had also appointed its staff, including junior health inspectors, as charge officers in the FLTCs in three shifts of eight hours each. In addition, cleaning staff were also deployed at a rate of one for every 10 beds. However, with the positive cases reducing and with quarantining protocols becoming less stringent, many of these were closed down.

Prevention attempts

The Corporation has also decided to step up disinfection activities, with teams employed last year for the purposes being activated again. Another team has been formed for enforcement of COVID-19 protocols including physical distancing, wearing of masks and prevention of crowding. Public announcements will be made in wards on the importance of following all the protocols. The Corporation had also planned to support the vaccination drive with activities at 25 separate centres. However, this has been put on hold temporarily considering the non-availability of vaccines from the Union government.

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