New Covid advisory: Odisha to ramp up testing, mock drill in hospitals soon

by Dikhyaa Mohanty

Against the backdrop of rising infections in several countries due to the new Covid-19 variant, the Odisha government on Friday urged people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour including wearing masks and practising hand hygiene.

After a high-level meeting, the State Health Department secretary Shalini Pandit said that even though Covid testing in Odisha is satisfactory as per the national average, it has been decided to ramp up testing across the state.

According to Pandit, the Covid-19 situation as of now in India and Odisha is considerably under control and stable. Since November, less than 15 cases have been detected. Now, on an average, 10 cases are being reported in Odisha daily. The testing rate per million is considerably good as per the national average. Not a single person has been admitted to ICU in the last three months, she said.

At the high-level meeting with health and other officials, experts opined that there has been a steep rise in the daily number of Covid-19 cases in several parts of the globe including Japan and Germany.

During the Experts’ Group Discussion, the Government of India also held discussion regarding the Covid variant (sub-lineage of Omicron). During the third wave, BA.2 variant was dominant and the variant which is now being discussed is BF.7 and XBB.

“The new variants are highly transmissible as per experts but there is no evidence regarding the variant’s severity. There is no evidence that the new variant evades immunity of those already vaccinated,” said Pandit. The state health secretary further stated that the severity of the Covid variant prevalent in India and Odisha is the same as the Omicron severity which they had faced in the past.

“Today we have decided to ramp up testing even though it is being done on a large scale. There is adequate stock of drugs and oxygen plants have been set up,” said Pandit.

Pandit further stated that it has also been decided to conduct whole genome sequencing of the positive cases. “We have applied to the Centre for conducting whole genome sequencing at SCB Medical College and Hospital,” she stated.

The health secretary further informed that all hospitals have been asked to remain in full preparedness.

“Soon mock drills at hospitals and oxygen plants will be conducted to check preparedness. The state government will urge the Centre to restore precaution dose supply and we urge people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour,” Pandit added.


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