Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday instructed officials to perform COVID-19 screening for all households in the state, conducting tests where necessary within 90 days. He said that the exercise must be carried out using 104 ambulances (emergency health service for rural areas), and urban health clinics, he said.
He said that in rural areas, one ambulance should be available per mandal, and the screening team should have ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife), ASHAs (Accredited Social Health Activist) and village volunteers. The vehicles should also carry adequate equipment and medicines, to address problems of people suffering with diabetes, blood pressure and other chronic ailments, he said.
Currently, the health department is testing more than 15,000 samples in a day on average. Officials said that at present, preference is being given to test people above 60 years of age, and also people above 40 years of age and suffering from chronic ailments. This strategy is meant to reduce the mortality rate by detecting COVID-19 infections among people in the high-risk category early on, so that doctors have sufficient time to treat them, Special Chief Secretary (Health) Jawahar Reddy had previously said.
According to officials, at present, tests are also being prioritised for people residing in containment zones and high risk areas, and random testing of people working in industrial and trade centres, and people visiting temples, market yards and other crowded places.
CM Jagan reiterated that the stigma present around the COVID-19 disease must be removed.
He also said that patientsâ€™ medical information should be stored in encrypted form in a health card with a QR code, so that they donâ€™t need to carry their reports physically. Officials said that so far, out of 1.42 crore health cards, 1.2 crore cards have been distributed. This is applicable to people with low income who are covered by the state government healthcare scheme.
As of Monday, Andhra Pradesh has 4,826 active COVID-19 patients, and 111 people have died from the disease.