Amid the spike in cases in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered an increase in testing to 30,000 a day, with at least 10 people in the immediate circle of every positive patient to be tested.
Reviewing the situation through video conference, with top health and medical experts and officials, the Chief Minister also directed the health department to supply ventilators to medical colleges and private hospitals free of cost.
He further asked the health department to provide manpower, such as anesthetists, to the hospitals that have witnessed an increase in COVID-19 patients in the wake of the cap on treatment rates by the government.
Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan, who was also present during the meeting, said that tenders had been floated for the procurement of nine more RT-PCR machines and the same was expected by next week.
She also stressed on increasing rapid antigen testing, as well as augmentation of level three bed capacity.
Vini added that to maintain continuity of COVID treatment and care in private hospitals, the anesthetists would need to be replaced with younger ones as most of the ones employed fall between the age of 55 to 60 years.
The Chief Minister also agreed, saying "we have to take them on board and extend all help while being strict in the enforcement of the fee cap and other restrictions."
Health, medical education, and research advisor of the Punjab government, Dr K K Talwar, in his presentation earlier, pointed out that the last three-four days had witnessed 300+ patients at Level 3, with 48 on ventilators, up from just 27 about 10 days ago.
"Though deaths per million in Punjab, at 30.8, was lower than India's 39.9, the situation was grim as 920 people had lost their lives to COVID and the state's recovery rate at 62.9% was lower than the nation's 73.9%. The percentage of co-morbid patients was higher in Punjab as compared with Haryana, explaining the greater number of deaths here," he said.
He added with the four districts of Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Ludhiana accounting for the majority of the 36,000-plus cases in the state, contact tracing in these regions needed to be stepped up, he added.
Secretary Health Hussain Lal, in his presentation, said while the number of tests had gone up to nearly 20,000, the positivity rate had come down slightly to 8.05% for the week from August 11 to August 18, as against 9.31% from August 3 to August 10.
( With inputs from ANI )
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