Government hospitals in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu will get 2,000 additional nurses, who have been recruited on a temporary basis for six months, according to Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar.

“We have issued appointment orders for the nurses. Each of the hospitals, including the government medical college hospitals in Chennai, will get 400 staff nurses. With this, there will be no shortage of nurses in hospitals. We are scaling up human resources and bed capacity as per the patient flow,” he told reporters on Saturday. The nurses would be paid a monthly salary of Rs. 14,000. Already, the department had recruited 4,893 nurses across the State, he added.

Mobile medical units (MMU) and Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) units of the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine have been diverted from various districts to Chennai. Till now, a total of 173 vehicles — 80 ambulances of the 108 ambulance network, and 33 MMUs, 30 RBSK units and 30 Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram vehicles of the DPH — were deployed in the Greater Chennai Corporation areas. In addition, 81 rapid response mobile medical teams from various districts were diverted. Of these, 61 teams will be in Chennai, 10 teams in Chengalpattu and five each in Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, according to a press release.

“We have deployed a total of 254 mobile medical teams comprising doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. The teams will go to the containment zones directly. They will conduct fever clinics and monitor containment zones, patients in home isolation and also shift patients to hospitals. These teams had already worked during the floods and have been provided accommodation in the city,” the Minister added.

On doctors of government hospitals testing positive for COVID-19, he said “Doctors are working despite knowing that they are at risk. They are following all safety protocols including wearing of Personal Protective Equipment, face shields and double gloves. Despite this, there is a chance of transmission. We have readied COVID-19 Care Centres for them.”

Noting that exit tests were no longer required as per Indian Council of Medical Research guidelines, he said still, moderate and severe patients were being discharged after one sample returned negative for COVID-19.

With separate helplines released for COVID-19 positive patients in Chennai, he said that the helplines were receiving at least 500 calls a day. Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan was present.

Home-based quarantine

G. Prakash, commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation, said that containment zones have been redefined to an extent for improved focus. “There are nearly 16 types of people in quarantine now. This includes those coming from other districts, other States and abroad, positive cases and extended contacts. Earlier, there were lengthy containment areas covering additional streets. This is a learning process, and guidelines were revised,” he said.

“Now, we have rolled out home-based quarantine. We are posting one volunteer for five streets. There will be around 5,000 volunteers in the city. From the time of going for testing, the plan is to quarantine 10,000 families each day. In a 15-day cycle, we can cover 1.5 lakh houses. In six quarantine cycles, we can provide safe coverage for the entire city. The revenue and finance machinery of the Corporation are working full-fledged and the results will be good,” he said.

He stated that this was not to discourage testing, and was being done in the interest of individuals, their families, streets, neighbourhood and the overall city.

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