Dedicated call centre traces contacts; watches home and facility-quarantined persons
By M.T. Yogesh Kumar
Mysore/Mysuru: In its efforts to augment contact tracing exercise to help contain the rapid spread of COVID-19 and to monitor patients who are in home quarantine as per the new guidelines issued by the State Government, the Mysuru District Administration has set up a tele monitoring system where dedicated Government employees are systematically monitoring patient health progress.
A dedicated contact tracing call centre has also been established where Government employees trace the contact history of Coronavirus-infected patients and are also ensuring that home and facility quarantine norms are not violated.
While the tele monitoring system for remote monitoring has been set up at the new Deputy Commissioner’s Office at Siddarthanagar, the contact tracing call centre has been set up at the office of the Mysore Palace Board. The team that traces the primary and secondary contacts of COVID-19 positive patients has been shifted to the new DC Office from the District Health Office at Nazarbad.
Centralised vitals monitoring system
The tele monitoring system is a centralised vitals monitoring system, which will allow frontline workers to monitor multiple patients under home quarantine simultaneously from a central location. As of last evening, there over 78 patients who are isolated at homes and a 10-member counselling team has been formed on July 8 to monitor their day-to-day activities and health.
Mysuru DC Abhiram G. Sankar told reporters yesterday that those who are isolated at homes and their caretaker are counselled by the team round the clock. “Information is collected three times a day on patient condition, co-morbidities and patient appetite and other related medical conditions and the collated details are sent to doctors for medical advice. The same is conveyed to the patient caretaker and only if the condition of the patient is serious, the person will be shifted to the designated hospital,” he said.
Through the call centre, all the quarantined people are called and asked questions which enable the medical team to analyse their needs and ascertain if they were following the guidelines. The team has been provided mobile phones and SIM cards by the District Administration.
“Patients and their attendants are very cooperative and we perform the role of psycho-social counsellors. We deal with psychological pressures felt by patients and counsel them with repeated reassurance on their health. Patient recovery is our ultimate aim and we work in that direction,” one of the team members told Star of Mysore this morning. Food and Civil Supplies Department Joint Director Shivanna is the Nodal Officer of the team.
Pinpointing the contacts
The contact tracing call centre functions from the office of Mysore Palace Board. There are two groups with 10 members each functioning at the call centre every alternate day.
The work entails tracing contacts of every COVID-19 positive patient, how they may have contracted the infection, the people they might have spread the virus to and dealing with psychological pressures felt by patients or those under quarantine.
“Contact tracing starts with the patient. The reference point is the infected person and we reach others through them. People who travelled and communicated with them need to be identified. The challenge was pinpointing the contacts. Mapping out the journey is not difficult with regard to travel history. The rest depends on the memory of the patient,” said an officer who works in the group.
In addition, the phones of those persons quarantined are geo-fenced (tracked by GPS) and if they move out of the quarantine centre or from their homes, an automated alert is issued to the call centre. “We call the persons and warn them not to venture out of homes. In extreme cases, the Police are informed to take action on violators,” the officer said.
On an average one person in the team makes over 300 calls per day and the entire 10-member team makes over 3,000 calls from 9.30 am to 5 pm. Later, the reports are collated in a spreadsheet and sent to the District Health Officer. Calls are made within the Mysuru District boundaries and officials from Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, Regional Commissioner’s Office and MUDA Office.
The call centre teams are supervised by V.N. Poornima, District Coordinator, Swachh Bharat Mission at Zilla Panchayat and Deputy Tahsildar Girija. Nodal Officer is Dr. M Krishnaraju, Deputy Secretary (Development) at Zilla Panchayat.