Govt. vacillates, says RT-PCR results awaited
Dimapur, July 22: Two COVID-19 related deaths were reported in Nagaland within the last 24 hours in Nagaland but the State Health & Family Welfare Department appears indecisive on whether to report the two deaths as COVID-19 deaths.
One of the deceased is a 72-year old male declared dead on Tuesday night at around 8:25 p.m. at Nikos Hospital here, while the other, a 32-years old woman, was found dead at a paid quarantine facility here early Wednesday morning.
Reportedly both the deceased have been tested COVID-19 positive through TrueNat and their confirmatory tests through RT-PCR are still awaited, but State health officials, when contacted by Nagaland Page, even refused to confirm that both the deceased had tested positive in TrueNat tests.
The State Health authority’s refusal to call the two deaths COVID-19 till the receipt of their RT-PCR test result appears to be untenable, at least in the case of the 72-years old death.
On Tuesday when the 72-year-old male from Bokajan in Assam passed away at Nikos Hospital, State Health authorities told Nagaland Page that he was tested COVID positive by TrueNat and confirmatory test through RT-PCR had been sent, the result of which will be received on Wednesday. But till late Wednesday night, Health authorities maintained that his RT-PCR result is awaited.
According to reports, RT-PCR test take at least 4-8 hours to test a single batch of samples (entire process from sample collection to results can take at least 24 hours), but 24-hours has already passed since the death of the 72-years old male on Tuesday night (at around 8:30 p.m.) and State authorities still claims that his RT-PCR test result is awaited.
Besides others, the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) “Guidance for appropriate recording of COVID-19 related deaths in India” says if a person dies without being tested for COVID-19, or had tested negative but displayed COVID-19 symptoms, the death should be classified as a “suspected or probable COVID-19” death.
But here, both deceased are reportedly COVID positive as per TrueNat tests and only their confirmatory tests are awaited.
Repeated call to the Chief Medical Officer and Deputy CMO Dimapur by Nagaland Page went unanswered. Dimapur Health officials, however, told Nagaland Page on condition of anonymity that they have been restrained to talk to the media on COVID-19 related issues.
Earlier a press release from the State Nodal Officer (IDSP) of the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare said the 72-year-old male, declared dead on July 21 at Nikos Hospital, was suffering from diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, acute coronary syndrome and had cardiogenic shock, pulmonary oedema, and suffered cardio-respiratory failure.
He reaffirmed that the sample for COVID-19 test has been sent for confirmation through RT-PCR, but did not mention whether the results have been received or not.
In the meantime, the State authorities have already sealed Nikos Hospital with immediate effect till further orders.
According to report the 72-year-old male from Bokajan was admitted to ICU Nikos Hospital on July 14 and was tested positive for COVID-19 through TrueNat test. Following his death, the district authorities have sealed the hospital till all doctors, nurses and staff are tested. Until tests results are confirmed negative through TrueNat, those inside the hospital will not be allowed to go home, sources from Nikos Hospital said.
With regards to the case of the 32-year-old woman found dead in a paid quarantine centre in Dimapur, sources said she arrived Dimapur by train late Tuesday night and after undergoing all protocols was put up in a paid quarantine centre in Dimapur town. On seeing that she was not feeling well, a QRT team was called and following no response from her, the door to her room was broken down by the hotel staff and medical staff only to find her dead body, sources said. Sources said she was also 2-months pregnant.
CMO Dimapur told Nagaland Page earlier in the day that the case is highly unlikely to be COVID-19 related. The case was handed over to police, but postmortem, sources said, is yet to be done to ascertain the cause of death.
(Page News Service)
ICMR rules for recording COVID-19 deaths
- Even if a COVID-positive person dies without symptoms of the disease, the death should be recorded as a COVID-19 death under U07.1, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) code for a confirmed COVID-19 death.
- Even if a positive patient appears to die of respiratory failure, the underlying cause of death — as distinct from the mode of death — should be listed as COVID-19.
- If a COVID-positive person has comorbidities, the patient has a higher risk of dying of respiratory failure. But the comorbidities should not be listed as the underlying cause of death; the cause of death remains COVID-19.
- If a person dies without being tested for COVID-19, or had tested negative but displayed COVID-19 symptoms, the death should be classified as a “suspected or probable COVID-19” death.