Despite 7 hotspots, Covid-19 testing, vax come to a standstill in Chiplun - Hindustan Times
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Despite 7 hotspots, Covid-19 testing, vax come to a standstill in Chiplun

ByJyoti Shelar
Jul 25, 2021 11:25 PM IST

The flood-ravaged Chiplun taluka has seven Covid-19 hotspots – the highest in Ratnagiri district – but testing and vaccinations have now come to a standstill

The flood-ravaged Chiplun taluka has seven Covid-19 hotspots – the highest in Ratnagiri district – but testing and vaccinations have now come to a standstill. Locals and healthcare workers are dabbling with the aftermath of the floods – cleaning sludge and water from their homes and salvaging their belongings. Health officials said that it will take at least a week to resume all Covid-related works.

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“We have continued the Covid-related drives in all the other areas, but it was not possible to do so in Chiplun due to the high impact of floods,” said Ratnagiri district health officer Dr Aniruddh Athalye.

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Any village or area with more than 15 active Covid-19 cases is defined as a hotspot by district health officials. Chiplun taluka has seven such hotspots, while Ratnagiri taluka has two and Sangameshwar has one. To break the chain of infection, health officials have been tasked to achieve 100% testing in all the hotspots.

“But it’ll be difficult to achieve that goal now,” said Dr Yatin Mayekar, medical officer in the primary health centre at Chiplun’s Adare village. “Locals have been traumatised by the floods, losing their homes and belongings. We have sent out mobile vans for testing, but for a few days, we’ll have to only test people who are coming to the centres on their own,” he said.

Many hospitals in the taluka were impacted by the floods. On Thursday, eight Covid-19 patients succumbed in Apranth Hospital – managed by the Nagar Parishad in Chiplun – while others were shifted to government hospitals. An isolation centre in Kherdi, which had five Covid-19 patients, was also submerged. But the patients and staff were safe on the higher floors of the three-storey building.

According to Dr Mayekar, many Accredited Social Health Activist (Asha) workers, staff nurses and other field staff have been impacted by the floods, mainly in the urban and semi-urban areas of Chiplun. “I visited many of the homes on Sunday. They have spent hours cleaning out the mud and most of their belongings have been washed away or destroyed,” said Dr Mayekar, adding that Asha workers and other staff may take at least a week to resume their work.

The affected areas do not have electricity. Drinking water is being supplied to the locals with the help of tankers. The gram panchayat members have started distributing Mediclore – a drinking water disinfectant – to avoid a spurt in waterborne diseases. But health officials fear a possible spike in Covid-19 as well as other diseases.

Ratnagiri has been a district of concern after nine patients infected with the Delta Plus variant were found in six villages of Sangameshwar. The officials had achieved 100% testing in Sangameshwar within a week after finding the Delta Plus variant and planned to comb the other hotspots as well.

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