New mechanism to categorise COVID patients, says Army Commander


A new mechanism to categorise COVID patients to determine if they require urgent hospitalization or could be treated at home, has been initiated, the Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said.

He stated, “As there were allegations that the home management system was not effectively taking place, the Health Ministry, the Covid Task Force and the Sri Lanka Medical Association together came up with this system after careful deliberations over the weekend”.

He noted that this new system was launched on August 19 and requested the public to send an SMS to 1904 once they have tested positive, stating their condition based on category A, B or C.

“Category ‘A’ are critical and emergency cases and the doctors will consult with the patient and in the event they have breathing difficulties etc., they will be immediately directed to a hospital. All those under category ‘B’ are those with mild symptoms and they would be directed to regional teams. They would assess them and direct them either to hospital or send them home depending on their condition. The third category ‘C’ are those who have tested positive, but have no symptoms. They would be treated under the 1390 home based care category,” he said.

Accordingly, those who test positive could send an SMS to 1904 stating their category, space their NIC number, space, and address.

“Under this system, by 12 noon yesterday, we had received around 2,600 such messages. Our efforts are focused on preventing deaths and managing the situation effectively. All the information we receive through this SMS service would be assessed by doctors attached to the SLMA through telephone consultation and evacuated through ‘1990 Suwaseriya’,” he noted.

The Army Commander also said that there is still a small group of those over 60 who have been reluctant to receive the vaccine, adding that the Army will once again commence the vaccination programme for them as they are the most vulnerable group.

“Among the above groups in Colombo and Gampaha, we have observed that there are those who have not got vaccinated. Hence, the Army will conduct another vaccination programme from Saturday August 21 to 28 for those above 60,” he added.

Meanwhile, hospitals have been asked to submit reports pertaining to their available patient capacity.

“We have called for reports from all hospitals pertaining to their capacity, where we would have a better understanding of the capacity and capability of each hospital when directing patients to hospitals. By this, we will be aware of the facilities and capacity of these hospitals when transferring patients to them,” the Army Commander said.