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Guwahati, May 29: Assam crossed the 900-mark in COVID-19 cases on Friday with 55 new patients, including six air travellers, and the tally of such cases stands at 935 in the state now, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
A dedicated treatment unit for COVID-19 patients at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) became functional from Friday, he said.
A repatriation flight from Kuwait, carrying 155 passengers under the Vande Bharat Mission scheme, arrived at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in the evening, a spokesperson of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said.
Twenty-five new COVID-19 cases were detected in the evening — 6 air travellers, 11 from Kamrup (Metro) and 8 from Hojai — Sarma said.
Among the 30 new cases reported during the day, 16 are from Golaghat, six from Karimganj and two each from Lakhimpur, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karbi Anglong, he said.
Twenty-four patients were released on Friday, including 12 from Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH), six from GMCH, three from Silchar Medical College Hospital and one from Jorhat Medical College Hospital, taking the number of recovered and discharged patients in the state to 125.
Of the total 935 cases, 803 are active, while 4 patients have died, 3 have migrated and 125 have recovered, the minister said.
He also inaugurated an exclusive COVID-19 treatment unit at GMCH.
The Rs 150-crore centrally-funded unit is perhaps the first of its kind in eastern India, Sarma said.
It is housed in a new building and has 236 beds — 50 in the ICU and 186 in the wards — with each bed having a dedicated supply of medical gas.
The unit is centrally air-conditioned and equipped with 14 Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UGVI) systems, imported from Canada, which will help improve the indoor air quality and bacteria management.
Sarma said the latest COVID-19 patients are mostly those who have returned from other states.
The state government has partially modified the existing protocols for testing COVID-19 patients by which swab samples of all patients should be taken on the fifth day after the initial positive result. If the test result of the sample taken on the fifth day is negative, a repeat swab sample would be taken on the sixth day.
If the results of both the samples taken on the fifth and sixth days are negative, the patient will be released from hospital, subject to verification of the asymptomatic status and approval of discharge by the State Discharge Board, according to an order issued by the state Health and Family Welfare department’s Principal Secretary, Samir Sinha.
Hospitals and testing laboratories will give priority to testing COVID-19 patients.
In Assam, 86,340 samples have been tested for COVID-19 so far, according to a bulletin issued by the Health and Family Welfare department.
The state government has decided that everyone coming to the state from outside will be sent for institutional quarantine and no home quarantine will be allowed for the first seven days, till the results of the swab tests are received.
Meanwhile, it has made partial modifications to the exemptions from institutional quarantine, which include any woman who has travelled alone to Assam by train or plane need not undergo institutional quarantine provided she is asymptomatic, but has to undergo 14 days’ home quarantine after compliance with health protocols such as collection of swab samples for the COVID-19 test.
Any senior citizen (60 years of age and above), who has travelled to Assam by air, need not undergo institutional quarantine, provided he is asymptomatic. However, the person shall undergo home quarantine for 14 days.
Exemption from institutional quarantine in case of senior citizens, however, is not applicable to travel by a bus or train.
In the case of the Army, Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) personnel travelling to Assam, each agency shall nominate a senior officer as its nodal officer to liaise with the district magistrates and other representatives of the state government, as required.
The nodal officer shall communicate the movement of the returning personnel in advance to the DMs of the districts where the disembarking airport or train station is located and the districts where the cantonment or group centres are located.
The nodal officer will confirm that adequate institutional quarantine facilities have been created for the personnel within the cantonment boundary.
There will be a general protocol for the Army, Air Force and CAPF personnel on official duty or deployment.
Screening of all the personnel will be done at the disembarking railway station or airport by the district authorities, in coordination with the Army/Air Force/CAPF authorities.
The personnel will directly proceed to their respective cantonment from the disembarking railway station or airport, where adequate institutional quarantine facilities will be created by the authorities.
Any asymptomatic officer will have to undergo a combined institutional quarantine (inside the cantonment or camp).
The defence personnel returning on leave to their residences in Assam will have to follow the quarantine and testing protocols stipulated for the general public, according to the order. (PTI)