Following the first case of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in Coimbatore district, Collector G.S. Sameeran said that all COVID-19 care centres (CCC) will be revived in the district as part of the ramping up of precautionary measures.
Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, he said that the district administration had written to the 12 CCCs that functioned in the district during the second wave of infections in 2021 at locations such as CODISSIA Trade Fair Complex and private colleges to keep the beds prepared at the earliest. “In the next one month, we might be requiring it at any time,” he said.
According to the Health Department, 3,884 beds were earmarked for CCCs to treat asymptomatic patients and those with mild symptoms that does not require hospitalisation. All these beds were vacant as of Saturday.
Mr. Sameeran added that the two major government hospitals for COVID-19 treatment, namely Coimbatore Medical Centre Hospital and Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, have also been asked to make necessary arrangements in anticipation of a surge in cases due to the Omicron variant. The availability of medical oxygen in Coimbatore district has been found to be “adequate” at present, he said.
Surveillance in the inter-State and inter-district check-posts will be intensified and only those with either vaccine certificates for both the doses or negative RT-PCR test certificate will be allowed for travel, he said. International travellers arriving at the Coimbatore International Airport will be strictly monitored by the Health Department.
On Friday, a 69-year-old man who had returned from the United Kingdom, was confirmed to be the first COVID-19 patient to have been infected by the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. As of Saturday, the swab samples of six international travellers have been sent from Coimbatore district to the State Public Health Laboratory in Chennai for whole genomic sequencing, out of which one has turned out to be positive for the Omicron variant, Mr. Sameeran said.
“There is nothing to panic but we should be careful,” the Collector said. Coimbatore district has recorded coverage of 75.71% for the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and the first dose coverage was around 94.97% as of Saturday. The district ranks second in the State in terms of vaccine coverage, he noted.
Arrangements for vaccination of teenagers aged 15 to 17 years, who will be eligible for vaccination from Monday, are under way in the district, he said.
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