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Fever camps: TN’s trump card in fight against Covid

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on July 06, 2020 Published on July 06, 2020

Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan

India displaces Russia as country with the third highest number of positive cases

Even as India displaced Russia to become the third in the world, after US and Brazil, with Covid-19 tally at 6.97 lakh today, there is some positive news.

Chennai, one of the hot spots, is showing a declining trend with the number of new infections as 1,747 on Monday from a peak of 2,393 on June 30. The total number of cases in Tamil Nadu also dropped below the 4,000 levels to touch 3,827. More importantly, the State also saw a surge in the number of patients discharged at 3,793.

Intense lockdown

There is a reason for Chennai’s improved show — it is the fever camps organised by Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC). These camps have emerged as a possible trump card in Tamil Nadu’s fight against Coronavirus. This, coupled with the imposition of intensive lockdown, appears to be flattening the virus curve.

According to GCC data, from May 8 to July 5, a total of 12,712 fever camps were held in the city, attended by 8.20 lakh persons. This included 38,280 influenza-like illness (ILI) symptomatic cases, and 34,091 swabs taken.

Fever clinics (camps) have increased access to testing and enabled early detection, said Prabhdeep Kaur, public health expert with the Indian Council for Medical Research-National Institute of Epidemiology, in a tweet. Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters on Sunday that fever camps have been useful, and helped in isolating people and giving them proper treatment.

According to GCC Commissioner Prakash, daily 550 fever camps are held across the city with plans to increase it to 680 soon. Nearly 30,000 persons attend the camps every day, he told BusinessLine.

3-pronged strategy

Fever camp is part of a three-pronged ‘vertical’ strategy to contain the virus spread. The first is door-to-door (D2D) surveillance that was started across the city from April, with field workers looking out for symptoms — fever, sore throat or cough — among members of the household. “In no other city the D2D survey is done on a daily basis,” he added.

The second is the fever camp that was started in April and stepped up in May for persons with symptoms. The doctors decide if the individual should go for Covid-19 testing or if any other medication is required.

“Catching the symptomatic people at an early stage is key to success. Our system has rolled this very well with small snags here and there,” said Prakash.

The third is the containment strategy that was started with the entire street and later narrowed down to individual houses. Nearly 4,000 volunteers monitor the home quarantine and isolation monitoring system on the ground, he said.

Every day, GCC is quarantining 30,000-40,000 persons with the number touching around 5 lakh. Only if all these verticals work in tandem will the desired results be achieved, he added.

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Published on July 06, 2020
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