Health workers during a mock drill at the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima on Thursday Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: Misinformation related to COVID-19 spreads fast, especially on social media. This has led to an atmosphere of fear and panic regarding Nagaland’s preparedness in battling COVID-19. We therefore decided to do a ground report from the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK), one of the two COVID-19 hospitals of the state.

The NHAK is equipped with 67 beds (44 for male and 23 for female), 20 ICU beds with nine ventilators. The hospital claims that it has received 2,055 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, 1,100 N95 masks, 12,300 triple layer masks and 1,180 bottles of hand sanitizers from the state government.

The hospital has 500 staff members. There is a rotational quarantine system in place. Should this team be overwhelmed, additional manpower will be brought from other districts. Each health worker after working for a period of seven days will be quarantined at a government facility for 14 days and even on being asymptomatic, they will be home quarantined for another 14 days. Following this cycle is a mandatory for any health worker.

Arrangements to ready the hospital on a war-footing started on March 24. The NHAK will however only admit patients when the first COVID-19 hospital — the AYUSH Hospital at Chedema — reaches its optimum capacity.

However, all has not been well in the state’s battle against COVID-19. Controversy stirred after videos and photos of mouldy face masks and poor-quality PPE dating back to 2007 surfaced on social media creating panic people of Nagaland.

As reported earlier, Dr Sendimeren Aonok clarified that masks and protective gear bought in 2007 to deal with the H1N1 outbreak and was supplied to the hospital only as a stop-gap arrangement. The new equipment will be used only when a COVID-19 positive case is admitted.

So far, only one case has been identified in the state and was referred to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital in Assam. As of 3 pm on April 28, 38 people have been kept in facility quarantine whereas 6,262 people are in home quarantine to keep the fatal virus at bay.

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