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Tracking even a single Covid patient’s trail, requires a surveillance army

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) With the COVID-19 tally in the national capital set to soon touch the 2,100-mark, tracking down the trail of the novel coronavirus remains the only resort with the authorities to contain its spread.

This tracking though is a huge task and requires much effort and resources — approximately 300 people including doctors, government officials, data operators etc is involved in the process.

Sub Registrar Aneesh Yadav, who is the nodal officer for surveillance and is heading the Surveillance Hub in Delhi’s South District took IANS through the process.

“When we receive the information regarding a patient from anywhere here, hospital or labs, a team of doctors is rushed to their residence to shift the person to a hospital.

“Once the shifting is over and the patient is comfortable, we take their mobile number and track their routine for the past 15 days. Wherever the patient has visited, all those said areas are sanitized,” Yadav said.

“Along with this, a medical surveillance team tracks and visits all those the patient likely came in touch with or interacted directly. Each of these contacts are screened to ascertain whether they are symptomatic or a symptomatic.

“The contacts of COVID patients are generally considered high risk and hence they are usually quarantined for around 28 days,” he added.

He further told IANS that once the doctors complete this process, they submit a report to the Surveillance Hub following which a sticker is put on the houses of the persons who came in contact with the patient announcing the duration of their home quarantine.

Explaining the working of the hub, Anuja Vasudeva, District Surveilance Officer and a doctor told IANS: “We perform two major jobs at this Hub – First, contact tracing of all positive COVID-19 patients and Second, planning, survey and reporting of all the containment zones of the South District.

Our team has 7 Physical Therapy (PT) students coming from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) and two other doctors and one doctor for containment zone planning with the staff of the District Magistrate and some data entry operators, Vasudeva said.

“As soon as we receive the information, we start the tracking and tracing process on the phone immediately and all the high risk contacts are put on either home or institutional quarantine and we inform all the other needful to our counterparts at the DM office,” she added.

District Magistrate, South Delhi, B.M. Mishra explaining how containment zones are created, said, “When we get information from our hub about a certain number of cases from a single area, we seek permission from the state and pass the containment order specifying the regulations and officers responsible for ensuring the implementation.”

“The Surveillance Hub is coming very handy. All the information and the number of cases is maintained on a Google spreadsheet which all of us can access from sitting in our offices or wherever we are. The best part about this data is that it updates in real time which makes it very easy for us to take important decision,” Mishra said.

South Delhi so far has 9 containment zones. The containment zones — created to map the local transmission of the disease and prevent it from spreading — completely shuts the movement of the common people in the area with the authorities taking care of the essential supplies. The area and the houses in it are sanitised properly.

–IANS

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