Local gov’ts need to strengthen Omicron prevention: Epidemiologist

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Field epidemiologist from Jenderal Soedirman University (Unsoed) dr. Yudhi Wibowo reminded local governments to continue strengthening efforts to prevent the spread of Omicron, following reports of two confirmed COVID-19 patients who died from the variant.

“Regional governments need to strengthen efforts to prevent the spread of Omicron, one of which is by tightening the application of health protocols,” he said here on Sunday.

The lecturer at the Unsoed Medical Faculty also reminded the local governments to enhance socialization on the importance of using masks in a good and correct way in order to increase public awareness and understanding.

“The public can even use masks with high filtration, ” he said, adding that the testing, tracing and treating capacity must be improved.

“If there are residents who are confirmed to be infected with Omicron, they should be isolated in a centralized facility, because self-isolation at home may not meet the standard requirements and can transmit the virus to other family members,” he said.

The local governments also need to increase efforts to accelerate the vaccination program, including the booster shot.

“Especially for the elderly and vulnerable groups, maximum efforts are needed to accelerate vaccination programs and booster vaccinations, especially in areas where vaccination coverage is still not optimal,” he said.

Meanwhile, he also reminded the importance of examining whole genome sequencing (WGS) in order to detect potential new variants of COVID-19 early.

“WGS examination should be improved to track and detect viral mutations,” he said.

Then, local governments need to ensure the readiness of health care facilities to prevent a possible spike in COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant.

“Local governments should ensure the readiness of health facilities, from health centers (Puskesmas) to hospitals. Preparedness needs to be done to provide a quick response. The readiness of health facilities is very much needed, starting from primary health services such as Puskesmas to hospitals, including the readiness of health workers and the necessary equipment,” he said.

Information system infrastructure and referral systems must also be strengthened, especially in handling COVID-19 patients so that the treatment process is expected to run optimally, he said.

 

Source: Antara News