All districts in Nagaland have converted district hospitals to COVID-19 hospitals Credit: Representational Image

Kohima: With the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Nagaland soaring to 94 in just about two weeks since the first cases were detected, Dr Vizolie Suokhrie, principal director of health and family welfare told EastMojo that the state government is “trying” to set up COVID care centre in the state as those who tested positive from the state are mostly asymptomatic or mild cases.

In conversation with EastMojo, Suokhrie said that the people who tested positive in Nagaland are in the age group 18-44 years. While most cases are asymptomatic, he said that some are showing mild symptoms and do not require hospitalisation.

“In most of the places, such [asymptomatic and mild] cases are supposed to be [sent] in home isolation. But we are taking extra care and the government is making sure that all who test positive are given proper care—so that we do not have community transmission. But since our government is taking extra care, we are doing our best,” assured the doctor.

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He explained that those tested positive so far do not have “any severe or moderate issues” and there is no requirement for Intensive care unit (ICU), no oxygen requirement, no special medication but rather need “psychological and mental therapy” which is the most important along with nutrition.

Responding to why a tourist lodge in Dimapur was chosen to be converted to a COVID-19 hospital, Suokhrie said “As the load is mostly on the asymptomatic cases or mild cases, it may not require medical infrastructure and facilities. It need not require ICU to be built. This can be converted to COVID care centre where mild and asymptomatic cases are put and observed. And after fourteen days, if they are fit, they will be sent home”.

Suokhrie also said persons showing no sign of fever, cough, bodyache are treated as asymptomatic cases and those having runny nose, throat irritation, or cough, are treated as mild cases. Persons having fever, cough, throat pain or even difficulty in breathing are treated as moderate cases and severe cases are referred to those having severe acute respiratory syndrome—including all symptoms and shortness of breath.

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He then added that for mild or asymptomatic cases, people can recover without any medical assistance. “It is not as deadly as we fear. We do not need to be afraid. We have to learn to live with it,” adding that it is important to follow the best practices of maintaining social distancing, following cough and hand hygiene, and wearing of masks in crowded places.

With the spike in the number of positive cases, he said that the government is trying to set up Covid care centres for asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19, and will activate such centres as and when the situation arises. “We are preparing plans and will activate as per the load of the cases,” he informed.

In addition, Mmhonlumo Kikon, Adviser IT, science & technology, NRE, who is also the spokesperson for the state, cited the order of the ministry of health & family welfare which said that asymptomatic and mild cases do not need hospitalisation and are either recommended to be kept under home isolation, following the guidelines issued by the government for home isolation or be sent to Covid care centres or Covid hospital centres if their houses are not suitable for home isolation.

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He added that the approach of the state government “has always been holistic” and all issues or challenges are to be addressed collectively. He also emphasized that the government requires “people participation” and further urged the people to maintain social distancing, which should be a “personal responsibility”.

Since the threat is common to all, he said that the government is trying its best and that the people must also maintain certain obligation. Reiterating the chief minister’s statement of fighting the pandemic as “team Nagaland”, he said: “The state has been very objective in ensuring that we will be able to deliver whatever services they require”. He added that the whenever the state is not prepared, it has admitted to it and has taken remedial measures immediately.

He then acknowledged and commended the frontline workers — the doctors and nurses, policemen, administrative officers — who are “putting their time and effort without taking proper rest”. “There should be space for appreciating our work. We must boost our morale in our attempts to face this challenge,” he concluded.

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