Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir administration is upgrading the facilities in the designated hospitals to provide level-3 treatment to the patients in the wake of increase in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks.

The Union Territory has recorded three coronavirus deaths since March 26, out of total 125 positive cases – 98 in Kashmir and 27 in Jammu region.

Four of the patients, including three in Jammu, have recovered and discharged from hospitals.

“We need to be meticulous about the services that are being provided at the designated COVID-19 hospitals and have to increase our strength in terms of enhanced facilities and manpower,” Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, Atal Dulloo said.

He said better patient care should be the top priority for the health department.

Stressing on the need to lower the burden on the tertiary health care institutes, he said there is a need to upgrade our Level-2 hospitals to Level 3.

“We need to lower the burden on our tertiary care health institutions by upgrading some of our Level 2 hospitals to Level 3 and Level 1 hospitals to Level 2 to effectively combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Dulloo said.

The level three hospitals have pulmonologists, round the clock ICU teams, ventilators, anesthetic support, oxygen support, ventilation facility physicians, and other facilities.

Chairing an officers’ meeting to review the hospital preparedness and testing strategy with regard to the pandemic here on Tuesday, Dhulloo also emphasised the need to ramp up testing of suspected COVID-19 patients besides augmenting the capacity and facilities of the laboratories.

He said increasing the sample testing should be the focus of the authorities in order to have a clear picture about the disease for tackling it in a better way.

“All high risk contacts of the positive cases should be tracked, quarantined and lab tested as per the protocol,” he said.

The health officials have drawn a hospital management plan comprising three levels of hospitals to manage coronavirus patients effectively and to avoid unnecessary clogging at the tertiary hospitals, Dhullo said.

A total of 16 hospitals have been designated as COVID-19 hospitals in J&K, while isolation facilities are available at five government and three private hospitals in Jammu and 11 government hospitals and 15 private nursing homes have been identified for the purpose in Kashmir, he said.

In another meeting with regard to cluster surveillance, contact tracing, home quarantine, the financial commissioner directed the authorities to intensify the contact tracing of the COVID-19 positive patients on a war footing.

He also asked the deputy commissioners of the respective districts to increase the surveillance teams so as not to leave any chance for further spread of the pandemic.

“The surveillance teams in all the districts should work on a commensurate basis with the population. We need full support from all the departments in contact tracing and the surveillance efforts have to be intensified in those locations where cases have arisen,” he said, adding that a call centre would be established in every district.

Dhulloo directed that contact tracing should be completed in time and no laxity would be tolerated in this regard, adding it must be ensured that all traced contacts of the positive cases should be placed under home or administrative quarantine. (PTI)