Cyclone Yaas: Odisha to screen 6.5 lakh evacuated people for COVID-19 symptoms

Rapid response teams, Accredited Social Health Activists and anganwadi workers will check their health status through door-to-door survey.

Odisha will screen around 6.5 lakh people, who were evacuated to different cyclone and other shelters ahead of very severe cyclonic storm, Yaas, hitting the coast.

“During evacuation of people, due precautions were taken keeping the outbreak of COVID-19 in mind and masks were distributed. As there was emergency situation like cyclone, we cannot rule out lapses. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has suggested that health of all evacuated persons should be monitored,” said State Special Relief Commissioner P.K. Jena.

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“Rapid response teams, Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and anganwadi workers would check their health status through door-to-door survey to find out if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. If situation demands we will carry out mass testing of these people to ensure that the COVID-19 situation does not go out of control,” he said.

The State had evacuated about 6.5 lakh people, including 1.52 lakh in Balasore, 1.20 lakh in Bhadrak, 1.05 lakh in Kendrapara and 1 lakh in Mayurbhanj district.

According to officials, the Chief District Medical Officers had supplied a list of COVID-19 patients who were in home isolation. They were shifted to either temporary medical centres or dedicated buildings which are to be sanitised later.

The State had also suspended COVID-19 testing, vaccination and door-to-door survey in Balasore, Bhadrak and Mayurbhanj in view of the cyclone from May 25 to 27. Partial suspension was ordered in a few other districts.

Testing resumes

However, in view of an improvement in the situation, testing was resumed at many places on Thursday.

Recognising the risk involved in evacuation of people during the pandemic, the Odisha Chief Minister had requested the people to wear double masks in shelters and wash their hands with soap and sanitiser before the cyclone hit the State.

Additional doctors sent

Odisha had sent additional doctors to Bhadrak and Balasore to ensure that COVID-19 treatment did not suffer. Windows of hospital buildings were sealed with ply sheets to prevent strong wind from damaging the infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Mr. Patnaik expressed satisfaction over the smooth supply of oxygen to other States which rely on Odisha for it.

On Thursday a sharp drop in daily COVID-19 cases was registered with 6,736 positive ones being reported compared to the over 11,000 daily spike recorded during the past eight days. The drop is largely attributed to suspension of tests.

Odisha’s cumulative cases has now increased to 7,32,739 while total active cases stand at 1,06,440. The State also reported 34 deaths on Thursday, taking the toll to 2,618.

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