The head of the Punjab government’s expert advisory committee on health, Dr K K Talwar, on Thursday warned of a second coronavirus wave hitting Punjab during the upcoming festival season.

With just about 500 Covid cases a day at present, the projections for the next few days were positive, he said, but added that with the spate of upcoming festivals and the fatigue in the health system Punjab could see the next Covid wave hitting soon.

Even as he termed the decline in positivity rate to 2.60 as a good sign, Dr Talwar, cited the incidence of the second wave in various countries, and even in Delhi.

Dr Rajesh Kumar, a member of the health department’s Covid expert group, said that even if the situation remained under control through November, the onset of the winter season could trigger a spurt in cases.

The former director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Dr Talwar suggested giving Pulse Oxymeters to Asha workers to enable them to keep a check in their respective areas. He further disclosed that teams of experts were being formed to conduct a mortality audit of every hospital to identify gaps, since the fatality rate in the state continued to be high (at 3.1 per cent).

This is despite the fact that the recovery rate has gone up from 82 per cent on 1 October to 90.3 per cent as of 13 October, when the total number of confirmed cases in the state stood at 123211.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal pointed out that Case Fatality Rate (CFR) was still high at 131 against the national average of 81. He informed the meeting that to ensure adequate availability of oxygen supply in the coming weeks and months, tendering for 1st phase for augmenting the supply was in process.

The Union government of India had fixed the rates of Medical Oxygen, including that of transportation of oxygen cylinders, though liquid oxygen transportation rates were yet to be fixed, he added.

In the first phase, Oxygen generation plants will be set up at District Hospitals Jalandhar, Ludhiana and at Medical Colleges Patiala, Amritsar, Faridkot, to be followed by DH Mansa, Sangrur, Bathinda and MKH Patiala in the 2nd phase, and DH Ropar, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur and Amritsar in 3rd Phase.

As far as Post-Covid Care kits were concerned, so far 10000 of these had been sent to various districts for distribution to all patients discharged from Government hospitals, said Hussan Lal.