Kerala plans ‘cluster care’ to prevent community transmission: KK Shailaja

Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said that there are 87 clusters in the state, of which 70 are active clusters and 17 contained clusters.
Kerala plans ‘cluster care’ to prevent community transmission: KK Shailaja
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With the spike in coronavirus cases in the state, the Kerala government has decided to focus on containing COVID-19 clusters to prevent community transmission. Health Minister KK Shailaja on Saturday said that a "cluster care" method will be implemented for this.

The Minister said testing, treatment and quarantining will be strengthened in these disease clusters in order to stop the spread of the virus beyond a particular area. "Those part of cluster zones must strictly follow the health protocol, including wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, handwashing and using hand sanitisers. We must keep in mind that the clusters are formed just before the community transmission," Shailaja said in a release.

A cluster is formed when there is an "unexpected surge in COVID-19 cases" at a particular area or a region.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had on Friday said that community spread had occurred in Poonthura and Pulluvila in Thiruvananthapuram and its nearby places have seen a rapid increase in the number of contact cases.

The Health Minister said that there are 87 clusters in Kerala, of which 70 are active clusters and 17 clusters have been contained.

"Two of such clusters have reported community transmission and the people there need to cooperate with the health department to remove those regions from the cluster classification," she said.

A region will be declassified as a cluster only if it is confirmed that there is no new case within seven days after the last positive case in that area was detected.

The Kerala health department said that when a cluster is formed, a rapid response team will be set up, which will engage in contact tracing and conduct testing on the basis of primary, secondary contacts.

Incidentally, contact tracing in these clusters has begun based on the fact that there is at least one case where the source is unknown and more than two unrelated cases in an area. "It can be a market, hospital, coastal area, an institution, a ward, panchayat or a tribal area. The disease may be reported en masse in people who work or live in that particular area," she said.

Shailaja teacher also said the state government and the health department were trying to "break the chain" of transmission from one cluster to another by "thoroughly locking the clusters".

"We need to give more attention to coastal areas. Inside these clusters, local transmission is more than 50%, but outside the clusters, it is below 10%. We should prevent clusters from forming and the subsequent community spread," Shailaja said.

The Minister was speaking to reporters after inspecting the COVID-19 first-line treatment centre set up at the International Convention Centre inside the Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. This centre has over 700-beds.

Kerala on Saturday reported 593 fresh COVID-19, of which 364 cases were through contacts.

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