The Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus were spreading like a 'tsunami' wave in Tamil Nadu, State Minister for Medical and Family Welfare Ma Subramanian said on Thursday, January 6 and appealed to people to adhere to COVID-19 protocols besides getting vaccinated to contain the spread. The comment comes in the wake of the state registering a massive spurt in new COVID-19 infections over the last few days.
Talking to reporters in Chennai, along with Minister for Higher Education K Ponmudi, Subramanian said both Omicron and Delta variants were spreading like a 'tsunami' in Tamil Nadu and the government has set up nearly 30 Corona Care Centres in Chennai alone to cater to those infected. On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu witnessed 4,862 people testing COVID-19 positive, pushing the tally to 27.60 lakh while nine fatalities took the toll to 36,814.
"We have 904 beds in Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam, another 104-bed facility at Injambakkam and in Tondiarpet we have a 200-bed facility.. We are also putting up beds in some marriage halls," he said.
Appealing to the people not to get panicky over the surge in new infections, Subramanian said the government was suggesting that those people who have received both vaccine shots against COVID and have been affected by the Omicron variant may opt for 'home isolation' rather than hospitalisation.
"Even yesterday ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has suggested that people who have received vaccination and have been infected by the Omicron variant may opt for home isolation. We are also saying the same.. Not all require hospitalisation.. only those who do not have the facility to isolate at home or who need treatment may be hospitalised," he said.
After inspecting hostels as new COVID-19 cases surfaced at the Madras Institute of Technology in Chennai, Subramanian said a majority of the students affected were infected by the Omicron variant. "Here we have detected 66, S gene drop cases which means Omicron..We have adequate laboratories and also have 3 lakh kits on hand to test whether someone has been affected by Omicron," he said.
Higher education minister K Ponmudi said Chief Minister M K Stalin has been urging people to wear a face mask while in public and also to get vaccinated.
Earlier in the day, Stalin flagged off 42 special ambulances as part of expanding the service launched in May 2021 to treat COVID-19 patients in the state. The ambulances would have drivers, a health officer equipped with PPE (personal protective equipment) gear, who would safely transport COVID-19 patients to a hospital or a COVID Care Centre.
The vehicles would be stationed in all the zones of the Greater Chennai Corporation, an official release said.
The ambulances would either take the patients for taking the first level of tests if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and later to COVID Care Centres or hospitals if they are positive. People who need to avail the service may dial 1913 or 044-25384520 and 044-46122300.
During a virtual meeting of chief ministers recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the service launched by the government. The launch of special ambulance service was appreciated nationwide and it was later followed by several states, the release said.