New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union government on Monday said that India's current COVID-19 hospitalisation rate stood at 5 to 10 per cent as compared to 20-23 per cent in the previous wave that peaked in May. However, the government added that the situation may also see a rapid change. 

"The situation is dynamic and evolving, therefore, the need for hospitalisation may also change rapidly," Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote in a letter to state authorities asking them to regularly review their requirements of healthcare workers.

"Based on this monitoring, the requirement of healthcare workers and their availability health facility wise must also be reviewed daily as was done during the second surge," the health secretary said.

Appreciating that while various states and Union Territories initiated steps for the establishment of jumbo health facilities, field hospitals, temporary hospitals among others, Bhushan said both infrastructure and human resources have their limitations.

Therefore, it is important to conserve healthcare workers by initiating staggering wherever possible and by restricting elective procedures in the hospitals, he advised.

It is also important to strictly follow the advisory, issued by the Health Ministry on January 9, for managing healthcare workers in Covid and non-Covid areas of healthcare facilities.

The ministry has suggested states and Union Territories to earmark different categories of beds in private clinical establishments for Covid care.

"It must also be ensured that charges levied by such health facilities are reasonable and there is a mechanism to monitor and initiate action in cases of over-charging if any," Bhushan said in the letter.

He also suggested engaging retired medical professionals or MBBS students for teleconsultation services and providing skill training of community volunteers in basic care and management at Covid Care Centres.

The health secretary also suggested requisition of additional ambulances or private vehicles to improve referral transport and facilitate seamless transfer of COVID-19 cases from home isolation or from Covid Care Centres to Covid Dedicated Hospitals.

All district hospitals and medical college hospitals should be used as eSanjeevani teleconsultation hubs. Requisite financial resources for this have already been provided under ECRP-II to states and Union Territories, Bhushan said in the letter.

Earlier today, India reported 179,723 new cases, most of them in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata - where Omicron has overtaken Delta as the most prevalent strain of the virus. There were 146 deaths reported on Monday, bringing the toll to 483,936 since the pandemic first struck India in early 2020. Only the United States and Brazil have recorded more deaths.

A total of 4,033 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus have been reported so far. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases (1,216), followed by Rajasthan (529) and Delhi (513). About 1,552 patients infected with the new variant have recovered.

The Health Ministry further informed that the active caseload in the country currently stands at 7,23,619 which accounts for 2.03 per cent of the country's total number of cases. The weekly positivity rate currently is at 7.29 per cent, while the daily positivity rate stands at 13.29 per cent.

India has administered a total of 151.94 crore vaccine doses so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive.

With the administration of 29,60,975 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours, 1,51,94,05,951 people have been vaccinated in the country so far.

India also began administering precautionary doses of COVID-19 vaccine to frontline workers and vulnerable elderly people on Monday.

(With inputs from agencies)

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta