Kohima: In the wake of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, Nagaland government, led by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, is leaving no stone unturned to contain the spread of the deadly virus in the state.
While the state has no positive case so far, 17 samples were sent for testing out of which 13 samples were declared negative and the result of four samples are awaited.
On the preparedness of the state, Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie, principal director of health & family welfare told a section of the media on Friday that two COVID-19 hospitals were activated in the state solely dedicated for treating COVID-19 positive patients. Among this two, one is in Kohima–Chedema and other in Dimapur.
Suokhrie said that under Kohima district, the Chedema hospital is activated as a COVID hospital and according to the need, the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) which is under preparation will also be used as a COVID hospital. While the hospital Chedema was initially identified as a quarantine facility, it was upgraded to a COVID-19 hospital.
In Dimapur, the district hospital is activated as a COVID hospital with nearly 100 beds and may increase the number of beds as and when required. He added that ICU facilities are also provided in the COVID hospitals to treat positive patients. He said that the special COVID hospitals are activated to ensure that in case any positive case is reported, it will ensure that the virus does not spread outside of the hospital. In this regard, he said that the medical workers will also be isolated and quarantined as per protocol if they treat any positive case.
Suokhrie said that all districts have identified quarantine facilities and that 2719 persons are under home quarantine and four persons are under facility quarantine as on Friday. He said that the number of beds at the quarantine facilities will be increased as per requirement. With no positive case, he said that the State is able to prepare to even more and that all persons under quarantine are monitored by the surveillance team.
Following a video conference with the district administrations and medical officers, he said that the district teams are preparing well. Although a situation did not arise for most of the districts to collect samples, he said that sample collection centres have been identified, besides the isolation wards and quarantine facilities. With most cases being reported from Kohima and Dimapur, he said the experiences from these two districts will be adopted by the other districts.
Do not panic, maintain social distancing:
The principal director appealed all residents to follow the government’s order of social distancing and stay at home. Urging the public not to panic, he said that the COVID-19 which has created a public health crisis is spreading rapidly but that it can be avoided by maintaining social distancing.
With the season’s common flu, Suokhrie said that all symptoms related to the infection is not a COVID-19 suspect. Unless it is for persons with severe symptoms, he urged residents not to rush to the hospitals unnecessarily and avoid overcrowding at the hospitals.
Saying that home quarantine is the best means to contain the spread of infections, Suokhrie said that all individual must be self-responsible.
State is equipped with basics to fight COVID-19:
Suokhrie said that the state is equipped with basic medical equipment, however, the state is struggling to procure ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for heath workers due to the nation-wide lockdown. He said that they are working on addressing this problem. Medical consignments are expected to arrive on Friday. However, others are stranded in the cities waiting to be airlifted to the state.
The shortage of masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) continue to trigger fear among health workers who are the front-line in the fight against COVID-19. The state is struggling to procure the basics need to fight COVID-19. The principal director has appealed to people to come forward and manufacture protective equipment with available raw materials, as the shortage is a global problem.
Nagaland is prepared today with only rudimentary health infrastructure, maintains the Principal director of health & family welfare. As the situation demands the health workers to be at the healthcare centres, he said that all departments are jointly making efforts to combat the spread of the virus. He also informed that police personnel are now trained to conduct screenings and therefore Dimapur district has withdrawn medical workers from duty at the entry-exit points. They will be stationed at hospitals where they are needed the most.
“The priority now is to respond to COVID-19 patients, he said that the medical workers cannot be sacrificed for screenings at checkpoints,”said Dr Vizolie Z Suokhrie
Urging the public not to panic over the shortage of hand sanitizers, he said that washing of hands with soap and water is recommended.