Over 5K Covid patients undergoing treatment at home in Telangana

Hyderabad, June 29 (IANS) Over 5,000 Covid-19 patients in Telangana are undergoing treatment at their homes through telemedicine facility, Health Minister E. Rajender said on Monday.

While a total of 7,109 people tested positive were in home isolation, 1,438 have recovered and 5,671 were under treatment. Only 26 had to be shifted from their homes to hospitals, he added.

He said those tested positive but were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms were being treated in home isolation and they were recovering in 7-10 days.

As on Sunday, Telangana had 9,000 active cases of Covid-19. Over 3,000 were undergoing treatment at various government and private hospitals.

Rajender appealed to people not to get worried over the increasing number of cases and clarified that there is no shortage of beds, oxygen, ventilators or medicines in government-run hospitals.

The Health Minister, along with Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, addressed a news conference to counter what they called “false propaganda over social media by some people with vested interests to malign the government”.

They appealed to people not to believe the misinformation being circulated over social media and rely on the information from the government.

Their appeal came after a selfie video of a Covid patient at government-run Chest Hospital in Hyderabad complaining about alleged negligence went viral over social media. The 34-year-old man died after sending the video to his father.

The Health Minister said the man was admitted at the Chest Hospital though several private hospitals had refused to admit him. He said the patient was administered oxygen and the hospital did its best to save his life. The minister pointed out that the man died of cardiac related complications.

“The government is allowing use of mobile phones and giving Internet facility in hospitals so that those undergoing treatment be in touch with their families but some people are misusing the facility to malign the government hospitals. This is demoralising for the staff doing their duties despite the risks,” he said.

The minister also found fault with the media for not highlighting the recovery of hundreds of people but giving wide coverage if there was a death.

He pointed out that it is the same Chest Hospital where the head nurse contracted Covid-19 while discharging her duties and succumbed to the disease.

Rajender said out of 250 people in the Health Department who tested positive, only one has died and that is the head nurse of the Chest Hospital.

He said 37 people discharging duties in private hospitals also tested positive. As many as 184 policemen also found infected and a couple of them died but the rest recovered.

Over 100 journalists were tested and many found positive. One of them died.

Allaying the apprehensions of people, the minister and the Chief Secretary pointed out that the mortality rate in the state is 1.7-1.8 per cent against the national average of 3 per cent. The state has so far reported 247 deaths, most of them due to comorbidities.

“The Covid cases are on rise in all regions in the country but the pace in our state is slow. See what is happening in other cities. Wherever there is more population, higher economic activity and high mobility, the cases increase, then stabilise and later come down. What we should always be worried about is how many deaths have occurred. It’s not many in Telangana,” the Chief Secretary said.

Greater Hyderabad had 10,666 cases out of 14,419 cases reported till Sunday. Out of this, 7,250 were active cases.

The Chief Secretary appealed to people not get panicky and rush to hospital if they test positive.

“Please understand you can recover in houses. Many are recovering…,” he said.

If anybody has problems breathing in problem, he can dial 104 and an ambulance will pick him up from his house and shift him to hospital, he added.

Both the minister and the top bureaucrat evaded direct reply when asked if they will conduct a door-to-door test for Covid-19. They merely said the government was following guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to do tests only on symptomatic people.

The minister, however, said the government was ready to do any number of tests. He said swab collection under the special drive to do 50,000 tests in Greater Hyderabad would resume on Tuesday.

The drive was paused three days ago due to a backlog of samples. The authorities had collected 36,000 samples.

Stating that nobody can question the government’s commitment to save lives and to provide best services to people, Rajender said there was no shortage of beds in government hospitals.

He pointed out that at Gandhi Hospital, the nodal facility for treatment of Covid patients, only 650 out of 2,000 beds were occupied.

He said out of the total 17,081 beds available in government hospitals for treatment of Covid patients, 3,500 are equipped with oxygen supply while work was on to provide oxygen for another 6,500 beds.

He said the hospitals had 1,000 ventilators and the Gandhi Hospital has only 10 patients on ventilators.

He appealed to private hospitals not to exhaust the resources by providing beds to patients who were asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.

He also announced that 4,700 doctors and nursing staff recruited on war footing would be deployed in government hospitals from Tuesday while additional 150 ambulances will also be provided.

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