Spate in cases calls for better equipment for virus prevention, testing and cure
THE unabated increase in coronavirus positive cases in the state is an indication that the preventive measures adopted by the state have failed to be adequate and effective. The virus has scaled the firewall the state authorities claimed to have put up to block it from afflicting Goan population. The state has over 700 active cases and the number is expected to increase substantially in the days ahead, there being no signs of effective measures taken to bring the spread of COVID-19 cases under control. Many in the medical fraternity feel that the lockdown ordered to contain the spread of virus had a limited effect in controlling the deadly virus that has so far claimed two lives in the state. They say the government’s approach in controlling the virus that has caused the pandemic has been tardy, especially in wake of the huge outbreak in Mangor Hill area of Vasco, which according to them was the main cause of spread of the virus in many parts of the state and resultant deaths.
The state has been recording at least 35 coronavirus positive cases on an average every day post Mangor Hill fiasco. The big increase in the number of coronavirus positive cases has put pressure on the infrastructure, which is found to be inadequate for accommodating newer patients, as well as the caregivers who may soon be inadequate in handling the patients given the present pace of increase in COVID-19 cases. Close on the heels of some people from Ambelim who were found to be coronavirus positive having to undergo ordeal of waiting for hours to be shifted to care facility and thereafter for breakfast has come the report of two more patients carrying the virus being shifted to Calangute residency only to be sent back for want of beds there. These instances show lapses on the part of the authorities in ensuring timely care and easing the pressure on the unfortunate victims who have contracted the virus. Why has the state government not yet centralised the COVID-19 care system for admission of patients?
The government does not have a clear-cut strategy to deal with the increase in COVID-19 cases and has been taking inadequate or wrong steps that could aggravate the situation in the days ahead. Instances like sending the positive patients back home could lead to the victims of the virus passing on to their families and others. Some weeks back, the government announced that they had decided to focus only on the four vulnerable sections of the population such as persons over 65 years of age, children, pregnant women and those with a history of comorbid conditions. However, we have witnessed two deaths that do not show any positive effect of the government focus on such groups. Besides, focus on certain groups should not mean putting other sections out of focus. That could be a dangerous trend as there might be people with undiagnosed medical conditions that could be life threatening and perhaps become casualties in case they were deprived of medical attention and care. Given the fact that the virus has spread fast all over the state, the government should not take chances and ensure that Goa which boasts of better medical facilities as compared to other states in the country lives up to its reputation and provides care to all COVID-19 patients.
As the infrastructure has been found to be inadequate to handle the increase in the number of patients, the government should designate more hotels and private hospitals as COVID-19 care centres. It is strange to note that though a survey of private hospitals was carried out some time back, they have not been put to use yet. As the prevalence of virus has been found all over the state, it would be better if patients were admitted to the nearest centres to prevent them from the torture of travelling distances. This will also help the government to save money on fuel for transporting patients to distant places. With its COVID strategies not proving to be fully effective, the state government must redesign its approach to prevent the spread of the virus, to be better equipped to take special care of vulnerable sections of the population and expand testing and treatment capacities.