Tamil Nadu to send only samples from clusters for Omicron testing

Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said samples were not being sent to NIV, Pune as the infection was mild; less than 1% of beds in COVID care centres were occupied, he said

The State government has stopped sending samples for Omicron confirmation to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), as the infection was mild and patients were getting discharged even before the report was received, said Health Minister Ma. Subramanian.

Speaking to media persons on Tuesday, Mr. Subramanian said samples from cluster areas only will be sent for testing to NIV, so that new variants, if any, could be identified.“

The Chief Minister is determined to control the spread of COVID-19 without causing any adverse impact on the economy. So there is no need for a major lockdown. With the cooperation of residents, the number of cases can be controlled. We are also planning to postpone the lockdown this Sunday because of Pongal. Government employees need a break during January 14-16,” said Mr. Subramanian.

“Currently, patients with a combination of co-morbidities and the Delta variant and Omicron variant are being admitted to hospitals. Less than 1% of beds in COVID care centres are occupied. Patients with mild infections are requested to be in home isolation. Those who do not have rooms for isolation at home are requested to get admitted to COVID care centres. Just 30 beds at the Nandambakkam Trade Centre have been occupied,” said Mr. Subramanian.

“Cases have increased by around 1,700 on Monday. There is an increase of around 2,000 cases every day. A total of 178 doctors and volunteers have been deployed for tele-counselling to monitor the condition of residents in home isolation in Chennai,” said Mr. Subramanian.“An apartment complex in Thiruvanmiyur reported a cluster of more than 10 cases. We have launched pulse oxymeter distribution for such residents. Virtual monitoring of COVID-19 cases is being done in Chennai. As part of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities, pulse oxymeter distribution has been requested from corporates,” he said.

Chennai cases

At least 26,000 active cases are in Chennai and 21987 have been isolated at home. At least 200 medical teams have been formed to conduct camps in cluster areas. Manjambakkam, Injambakkam and Tondiarpet COVID care centres have been readied. The Periyar thidal Siddha COVID care centre has also started operations.

The King Institute and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital have admitted 250 Omicron cases each. ICU or oxygen support has not been required for these cases, he said.

“As many as 20,000 persons received their precautionary booster doses on Monday. At least 22.5 lakh children in the age group 15-18 have received the vaccine in Tamil Nadu. The children who don’t go to school will get their vaccination soon,” added Mr. Subramanian.

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