Jammu and Kashmir continue to be under the grip of covid-19. On Thursday another grim milestone of 35000 cases was crossed while the death toll reached 675. In fact, on August 20, the total officially declared count was 30717, meaning thereby that five thousand cases were added up in just a week. The fatalities due to the microbe are more troublesome. From 379 by the end of the last month, three hundred lives were claimed by the virus in 27 days since. In fact, the J&K remains among the affected regions in the country.
There are still various measures to be taken care of effectively particularly enhancing testing, strict enforcement of restrictions in containment zones, ramping up health infrastructure, home isolation, and ensuring social distancing protocols to prevent the disease.
The testing has to be increased and the latest order by the government asking the private clinics and nursing homes to share details of the cases found positive of covid-19 suggest that the numbers shared by it in official bulletin is not the true picture of the disease spread. However the step along with the direction to the health facilities to report cases suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) and Influenza like Illness (ILI) is welcome as it would help in two accounts. One it would give a correct picture about the covid-19 spread as well as it will help reduce the mortality rate.
There is also a need to proactively identify the critical cases and provide prompt medical intervention to check the morality trend.
The perimeter control, active house to house surveillance, contact tracing and timely testing has to be ensured without any delay. All close contacts of new cases are to be traced with 72 hours of detection. While testing capacities can be augmented by using Rapid Antigen Tests in containment zones and healthcare institutions but over-reliance should be avoided for antigen tests are less accurate than RT-PCR tests.
There is also a need to augment end-to-end case management comprising surveillance, testing, treatment, referrals including transition through ambulance.
Unless there is an effective drug or vaccine available, the government and its allied agencies have to keep a check on the spread of infection through travelers, primary and secondary contacts.
It is important for both the government and the people of Jammu and Kashmir not to turn complacent. Test, trace, isolate, treat, and follow social distancing has to be adhered to in letter and spirit.