Guwahati, May 5: The Assam government firmed up plans to start community based surveillance for Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) and Influenza Like Illness (ILI) across the state in order to contain the possible spread of COVID-19, according to an official document.
To carry forward this programme and monitor it on a daily basis, a State Level Task Force and a State Level Coordination Committee have been set up.
A set of guidelines has been issued through the standard operating procedure for Assam Community Surveillance Plan (ACSP) for COVID-19′ on Monday night and the government will start to execute the initiative from Thursday in all districts.
However, the surveillance shall commence from May 6 in Kokrajhar, Kamrup Metropolitan, Jorhat, Sonitpur and Cachar districts, where five Zonal Screening Camps will be set up for people coming from outside the state.
“Assam has been successful in breaking the chain of transmission and containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the state in first phase. In order to strengthen the response mechanism going forward, the surveillance system has to be strengthened further.
“It has been increasingly felt that with the increase in the testing capacity, the surveillance mechanism should be enhanced to cover all SARI and ILI cases so that they are identified from the hospitals and the community respectively and tested,” the document said.
The objective of the ACSP has been defined as to identify any COVID-19 transmission, find unreported cases of SARI and ILI from every village, look for any clustering of such cases in a specific area, treat symptomatic minor flu cases at homes and create a database of such persons, including the migrant population.
This exercise will also strengthen the surveillance for other diseases associated with fever like Japanese encephalitis, malaria, dengue, measles and rubella, said the standard operating procedure issued by Health and Family Welfare Principal Secretary Samir K Sinha.
It also said that ACSP will ensure that all SARI and ILI cases are tested for COVID-19, followed by mapping and linking the places and accordingly plan for adequate beds and ICU facilities.
For smooth operations of the ACSP programme, a State Level Task Force is constituted under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department.
“The role of the Task Force is to guide and review the programme and issue necessary policy directions from time to time,” the document said.
Similarly, a State Level Coordination Committee is formed under the Commissioner and Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare Department to look after the day-to-day affairs of the programme and provide directions to the Deputy Commissioners to make the surveillance a success.
All the DCs will be responsible for the implementation of the ACSP, but it will not be carried out in the containment zones as active surveillance is already in place in these areas.
According to the Health and Family Welfare Department of Assam as on Monday night, the state has tested a total of 12,775 samples for novel coronavirus, of which 42 have been found positive and one has died. Thirty-two have been cured and released from hospitals.
However, as per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Assam has reported 43 confirmed cases for COVID-19 so far. (PTI)