Covid-19 Pandemic

Punjab doubles testing capacity, begins emergency recruitment

No new case surfaces | Report of 264 patients awaited

Punjab doubles testing capacity, begins emergency recruitment

Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu chairs a review meeting in Nawanshahr on Saturday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 28

Amid the growing threat of Covid-19, the state government has doubled the testing capacity at government medical colleges in Patiala and Amritsar.

ICUs to be set up in district hospitals

Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Saturday said ICUs would be set up in all district hospitals with hi-tech machines. Sidhu, who was in Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur to review Covid cases, said the state had started the process to procure 50 ventilators to meet the demand of district hospitals. Moreover, to handle the ICUs and ventilators, anesthetic doctors had been put on training with reputed health institutes.

DK Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, said the government was combating with this threat on war footing and additional real-time PCR machines had been installed at GMC, Patiala and Amritsar, to double the testing capacity, He said shifts of staff to supplement testing facilities had been increased so that the results came rapidly and the treatment was initiated immediately. He said the bio-safety equipment had been shifted from IIT Ropar to GMC Patiala to further increase the testing capacity.

Six districts affected

At present, the spread of the disease is limited to six districts only. Of 22, 16 districts are disease-free. At present, the confirmed 38 cases have been reported from five districts. This includes 19 from SBS Nagar, six each from Mohali and Hoshiarpur, five from Jalandhar and one each from Amritsar and Ludhiana.

Tiwari said the Medical Education and Research Department was working 24X7 and a daily status report was being taken via videoconferencing.

He said special desks have been set up at medical colleges for guiding public, apart from this round the clock staff facilitation counters have been put up for assisting doctors, nurses, paramedics on duty during odd hours. He said there was no scarcity of any medical commodity and buffer stock of N95 masks, PPE kits, triple layer masks and other essentials had been provided to the staff.

No new confirmed case of Covid-19 has been reported in the past 24 hours in the state. The number of confirmed cases remained 38 even as the report of 264 suspected patients is still awaited.

According to the media bulletin issued by the Health Department, so far 898 samples have been collected and out of them, 38 were found positive and 596 negative. The result of the remaining 264 is still awaited.

At present, the spread of the disease is limited to six districts only. Of 22, 16 districts are disease-free. At present, the confirmed 38 cases have been reported from five districts. This include 19 from SBS Nagar, six each from Mohali and Hoshiarpur, five from Jalandhar and one each from Amritsar and Ludhiana.

Meanwhile in a new initiative, the Health Department has started recruiting emergency staff on a temporary basis. They include pharmacists, staff nurses, radiographers, laboratory technicians, ANMs, staff nurses and ward attendants. In an advertisement issued in various newspapers, the department said each of the recruited employees would be paid Rs 1,000 per day. The ward attendants will be paid Rs 750 per day.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Balbir Sidhu said they were yet to take a final decision on the number of workforce which was to be engaged.

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