North East

Nearly 350 COVID-19 patients in Assam died due to comorbidities: Minister

Guwahati, August 14: Around 500 COVID-19 patients have died in Assam, including 300-350 due to comorbidities, Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Friday.
Sarma said the state has reported 169 deaths with underlying cause as COVID-19 pneumonia.
“There is another long list of 300-350 COVID-19 patients, who have died due to cancer, kidney failure, heart disease or other comorbidities,” Sarma told a gathering here at a plasma donation camp organised by the BJP.
However, deaths caused by other ailments are not included in the list of COVID-19 fatalities as per central government guidelines, he said.
Assam has so far reported a total of 71,795 COVID-19 positive cases, of which 22,240 are active and 49,383 have recovered.
Last month, Sarma had announced the formation of a death audit board to certify the underlying cause of deaths of all COVID-19 patients in the state.
The minister said 30 per cent of all the COVID-19 patients who underwent kidney dialysis have died, as per a data analysis by the state health department.
“If a cancer patient becomes COVID-19 positive, it is very dangerous. We have asked cancer patients not to come to hospital for treatment because if they contract the virus, it will be very serious,” he said.
The COVID-19 death rate in Assam stands at 0.24 per cent, which is the “lowest in India”, Sarma said.
“One major reason for the very low death rate in Assam is the success of plasma therapy. At Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, the fatality count has become almost nil,” he said.
The Health and Family Welfare Department, in a release issued on Thursday night, said 202 COVID-19 recovered people have donated their plasma at five medical colleges in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur and Silchar.
“I received a call from Gujarat for plasma donation, but for Rs 16,000 per unit. In other states, plasma donation has become business. In Assam, people are voluntarily coming forward for saving lives and service to mankind,” Sarma said.
Lauding the BJP for organising plasma donation camps at five places, he said a call was given to all political parties for motivating people to donate plasma and hold such programmes, but “only the workers of the ruling party came forward”.
The minister also slammed the Congress for its criticism over handling of the pandemic, accusing the opposition party of demotivating doctors and other frontline workers instead of supporting the government’s thrust to provide treatment to people.
“Today, 292 people have volunteered to donate plasma at the five medical colleges across Assam in the camps organised by the BJP. They will be called later for the donation, as we cannot collect so many units in a single day,” he said.
Sarma said the state government will give preference to all the plasma donors in any official scheme or jobs in future.
“Today, I will not announce anything, but the government will adequately recognise and offer its love and affection to the plasma donors for their service to mankind,” he said.
Sarma added that the Assam government is spending an average of Rs 70,000 for each COVID-19 patient, who have been admitted in ICU, and most of them are poor people. (PTI)