Health Ministry communication comes in the light of the spike in infections

To ensure ease of access to services such as ambulance transportation and booking a hospital bed, the Union Health Ministry has written to State governments asking them to ensure the re-establishing of COVID-19 control rooms at district and sub-district levels.

The communication comes in the light of the spike in cases. The Ministry has directed that the control rooms should be adequately staffed with doctors, counsellors and volunteers, among others, and shall be equipped with ample phone lines to cater to the assigned population.

Computers and broadband must be provided for uninterrupted connectivity and depending on the case load, they shall remain functional round-the-clock to provide validated guidance/support to the patients.

Additional Secretary, Health Ministry, Arti Ahuja in her letter said the control rooms must have real-time data on availability of COVID-19 testing centres, ambulances and shall be able to guide the caller on the process for availing the services. They are also expected to monitor the availability of different types of beds across the assigned health facilities and shall counsel the patients/attendants to avail only the required services based on clinical symptoms and availability of beds.

“Clear and transparent mechanism for allotment of beds must be ensured by the control rooms and dedicated ambulances shall be allotted to each control room based on area caseload for transportation of patients, as per the need. They shall also be responsible to make outbound calls to the patients under home isolation for regular monitoring of their status.’’

She said one of the core responsibilities of the control rooms shall also be to collate the daily status report of all patients under home isolation in their jurisdiction and submit it to the district administration.

The Ministry has also written to States regarding precautionary booster dose stating that private hospitals that function as COVID vaccination centres can vaccinate their staff at the hospital itself. “They may choose to bear the cost of the vaccine doses and provide the precaution dose to their staff who are eligible and due, free of cost or they may provide such vaccination and charge for it,’’ it said.

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