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Punjab to increase Covid tests to 60,000 per day

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered an increase in the number of Covid tests to at least 60,000 per day.

Punjab to increase Covid tests to 60,000 per day
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Chandigarh

At present, the Covid tests are in the range of 45,000 to 49,000 per day.

Reviewing the state's preparation for an imminent third wave, Singh directed the health department to undertake priority sentinel testing for patients at government and private hospitals, travelers at entry points, government offices, industries, and labor colonies, etc.

Based on this, districts should formulate strategies for micro-containment zones, he said in a statement.

Also, the CM virtually inaugurated a Children's Covid ward as well as PSA (Pressure swing adsorption) oxygen plants in Ludhiana and Faridkot.

The Covid pediatric ward at Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, has five Paediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) and eight multisystem inflammatory syndromes in Children (MISC) beds.

He announced that the government would be augmenting the PICU and level 2 pediatric beds capacity in all 23 districts and four government medical colleges and hospitals to 1,104 pediatric beds.

He said a total of 76 PSA are being installed in the state, with 48,832 liters per minute oxygen generation capacity.

With the installation of these plants, the state's dependency on oxygen supply from outside Punjab will substantially reduce, he said, adding that preparations were on to augment the oxygen capacity to 560 metric tonnes.

This includes 50 MT oxygen for non-COVID emergencies, he added.

At the peak of the second wave, Punjab was utilizing 308 MT oxygen.

The CM also asked the concerned departments to speed up the augmentation of the health infrastructure and medical supplies to deal with the third wave of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the CM also asked the health department to gear up for full utilization of the additional vaccine supply, of which he had been personally assured by the Union Health Minister.

The state had been assured of a 25 percent increase in vaccine supplies.

He said more than half of the eligible population of the state had already received one dose of vaccine, with the entire available stock being used without any wastage.

Incidentally, the first dose of Covid vaccine has been administered to around 82 lakh people (40 percent of the state's eligible population) and the second dose to nearly 24 lakh people (11 percent of eligible beneficiaries), which, said the CM, has the capacity to vaccinate eight lakh people per day.

As per a study to monitor COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness, conducted by Dr. Rajesh Kumar, former head of School of Public Health, PGI, it has been found that the vaccine has been effective in reducing positivity by 95 percent, hospitalization by 96 percent, and deaths by 98 percent, the meeting was informed.

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