If you don’t want to get infected, behave responsibly: Dr Suokhrie
Kohima, September 6: With the process of Unlock-4.0 in progress amidst COVID-19 pandemic, the Health and Family Welfare Department, Nagaland has expressed serious concern over the lackadaisical attitude of general public in considering that there is no more threat of the pandemic.
“We have been observing that people feel the pandemic is over. As and when one goes around in the town, it is quite evident that social distancing is almost a forgotten thing while people do not wear face masks properly”, Principal Director of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Vizolie Z. Suokhrie said.
Suokhire said, “Even though the restrictions have been lifted, we have to be more careful and more proactive with the preventive measures. One thing everyone should remember is that taking care and taking a new normal life is going to be of paramount importance for everyone. If you don’t want to get infected, behave responsibly”.
Chalking out the timeline of the pandemic as regards to Nagaland, the Principal Director pointed out that Nagaland was in the green zone for the first five months and people thought Nagaland was free from coronavirus, and that “we’ll never contract the virus.”
“But then suddenly with the returnees, with the special train arrangements, we saw a lot of positive cases followed by spikes in positive cases. Detection of positive cases was also registered among the travellers and para-military forces and this is how the spikes in positive cases started from the month of May,” he explained.
Suokhire also noted that following the spikes in May, asymptomatic cases started turning out positive particularly when a mass screening was conducted for the Assembly session. The spike in cases continued when frontline workers also started to test positive and then contact tracing started, he added.
Sharing an observation of the medical department since the contact tracing was initiated, the Principal Director said, “One thing which we have observed is that positive cases are mostly from the train returnees, vehicle travellers and people working in confined space like offices, from Commissioner’s Office to Post Office and many other offices”.
Suokhrie said at one point in time, the recovery rate seems to be very low but this was just because of the spike in positive cases which takes some time for recovery.
Expressing happiness that the recovery rate in Nagaland has crossed 80%, the Principal Director, however, said the contact tracing of positive cases has also increased and it is not only restricted to frontline workers and healthcare workers.
Talking about how to embrace the new normal, Suokhire said even though the enforcement of SOPs is beyond the purview of the Health Department, everyone should make it their responsibility.
The Principal Director pointed out that observation of 3Cs and 3Ws are going to be very important: Crowded places to be avoided as much as possible, the contacts that should be avoided and Confined spaces.
Currently, there 38 patients at COVID hospital, 391 in Covid Care Centres and 42 in home isolation, the Principal Director informed.
“Watch your distance (6-feet apart), wear mask, everyone should make it a point to cover their nose, mouth and chin,” the Principal Director emphasized while stating that many just wear their masks dragged below the chin. He asked everyone to wash their hands frequently with soaps and if they are travelling in a car or is in an office, to keep hand sanitizers.
Suokhire said, “Coronavirus much against our wish has already come to Nagaland and it is going to stay with us for some time. We don’t know how long it will continue but if we look at the season, a type of seasonal flu is coming and this is the time we have to really practice the prescribed norms”.
When asked for clarifications regarding reports of the presence of patients who were detected positive for the virus whereas the Naga Hospital Authority had issued a notification that it will resume public healthcare delivery services and cease to be COVID19 designated hospital from September 4, the Principal Director said that the COVID-19 patients at the hospital are under the stage recovery and a decision was taken to keep them till they have fully recovered and will resume all the other essential services accordingly.
“Another reason for holding COVID patients at Naga Hospital is that we cannot just transfer the COVID19 patients who are admitted at Naga Hospital Kohima and any other hospitals in the State because there is the risk of the virus spreading when we transfer them all,” Nodal Officer for Integrated Disease Control Programme (IDCP), Dr. Nyan Kikon added.
Kikon also informed that for Kohima, Chedema COVID-19 hospital and CCC Meriema is still in operation. As for asymptomatic cases in Kohima, there are options: Home isolation or if they don’t have the facilities they can go for the treatment or management at COVID CARE centres, Kikon added.
As for moderate and severe cases, the patients will be sent to the COVID hospitals, Kikon said.
Meanwhile, the department has initiated the registration of all the private hospitals for procuring licenses for TrueNat testing in the State, Deputy Director Dr. Kikameren Longkumer said.
Some are in the process of registration and some are in the process of procuring the necessary facilities, Longkumer added.
Longkumer also informed that the State is facing problem of limited qualified manpower, the NEPL says that one epidemiologist and a microbiologist is required but most hospitals face shortage of certified professionals.
He informed that the Department has written to ICMR and Government of India to relax the norms, because any properly trained person can conduct the testing but they are yet to receive the reply from the government.
When asked on the status of the BSL-2 lab in Tuensang that was launched on August 28, Dr. Nyan Kikon said that the lab is fully functional at present and it has the capacity to test more than 5000 samples.
On the number of recovered patients discharged, Dr Kikameren said that all the recovered patients till yesterday have been discharged from the hospital and COVID Care Centres. He said among the active patients, excluding those from army and paramilitary forces, 38 are in COVID hospitals, 391 in Covid Care Centres and 42 in Home Isolation.
Asked on restoring of COVID-19 hospitals, especially in Dimapur and Kohima for full-fledged essential services, the Principal Director asserted that District Hospital Dimapur is re-functioning to provide essential health care services but Naga Hospital Authority Kohima is currently unable to do so due to congestion.
Nonetheless, he asserted that once the current active COVID-19 patients recover within the next couple of days NHAK will be fully restored for the common health care seekers.
COVID is like any other disease and it will not jump on us if we are careful and can take all precautions, Dr Suokhrie said while appealing to the people not to stigmatize the COVID patients.