Central district 1st to flatten COVID-19 curve in Capital

New Delhi: In a slew of firsts, starting from the use of oximeters, mobile vans for testing to telemedicine hubs and taping homes — Delhi's Central district has now become the first district in the city to have flattened the COVID-19 curve. At its peak, the district reported over 200 cases daily but the latest data shows that the Central district is consistently reporting the least number of new cases (40-60) among all 11 districts in the Capital. A total of 80,747 RT-PCR tests have been conducted in the district till July 23.

"Right at the beginning, we realised that one strategy does not work in all areas. We need to have a mix of strategies to fight COVID-19. Variables like geographic location and demography play an important role along with people's cooperation," District Magistrate Nidhi Srivastava told Millennium Post.

The latest count from the district shows that a total of around 10,680 people have tested positive, of which with over 9,000 recoveries, there are only approximately 1,160 active cases remaining.

The Central district had the highest number of Coronavirus cases and deaths

at the beginning of the pandemic. "To reduce cases we made three types of containment zones, at first there were three big containment zones — Sadar Bazar, Chandi Mahal and Nabi Qarim — (which has around one lakh population)," said Srivastava.

"Managing big containment zones was challenging for the police and the health care workers. We decided to change our strategy after a month and made smaller containment zones within the larger ones for better management," she explained.

"As a result, we introduced smaller containment zones like Balaji Apartment, Oberoi apartment, where the population was around 500-5000 depending on the situation and cases. Then we had some micro containment zones

which had 100 to 200 people," said Nodal Officer, Rajneesh Singh.

Yet there were clusters within containment zones and officials focused on only these cases. "After 5-6 days, we realised that there are

isolated cases outside the containment zones as well," said Srivastava.

Outside of containment zones, district officials did taping which the state government introduced much later. "Taping helped because once a house was marked, people in that locality automatically stayed indoors out of fear," Srivastava said. The fourth step was pulling out people and putting them into quarantine facilities, adding that the 30-seater telemedicine hub was another "game-changer" in monitoring patients.

To reduce the fatality rate, district officials introduced pulse oximeters for

the first time in the Capital. The district had four to five deaths per day which have now reduced to zero deaths on most days.

"We deputed seven medical teams with pulse oximeters with the focus on three groups — People above 50, children below 10 years and pregnant women — if any one of them had tested positive, the team would visit them every day and check their oxygen levels. This helped in reducing the fatality rate," Singh said.

The district now has 50 micro containment zones that are being monitored and with the onset of monsoon, the focus has to be directed towards vector-borne diseases along with the Coronavirus pandemic, Srivastava said.

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