Dr Vizolie Suokhrie, principal director H&FW and other officials addressing a press conference on Wednesday

Kohima: Even as Nagaland continues to witness a daily spike in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, health officials informed that there is a growing need for early detection of positive cases to control COVID-19 fatalities in the state.

Addressing a press conference in Kohima on Wednesday evening, principal director of health and family welfare Dr Vizolie Suokhrie said that COVID-19 mortality rate in the state is increasing due to late detection of positive cases. By September-end, the number of symptomatic cases among the COVID-19 patients has seen a sharp increase.

According to him, symptomatic persons or COVID-19 suspects have been reporting “very late” for testing at hospitals and health care units. Many cases are being reported when a patient becomes seriously ill, increasing the mortality as per the health department’s observation.

Although there is no definitive treatment for COVID-19, he said that early detection of positive cases and necessary treatment at the right time can prevent further complications.

The health official recommended early testing (detection) and early diagnosis in order to avoid co-morbidities and fatalities. He revealed that persons being traced through contact tracing are reluctant to get tested for COVID-19, adding to the burden of the department. Stigmatization of COVID-19 patients continues to be a concern in this regard.

The health official also said that the lackadaisical and complacent attitude of people is one factor contributing to the daily spike in COVID-19. He therefore appealed all citizens to abide by the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed by the state’s health department to control the spread of COVID-19.

He added that the low-cost preventive measures such as washing of hands, wearing of masks, and maintaining social distancing are the “best weapons” to prevent COVID-19 spread.

In regard to the increasing positivity rate in Nagaland, Soukhrie said that one reason is due to the tests being conducted among a targeted or selected group of people who are traced and considered to be potential carriers of the virus.

Also Read: Possible total lockdown in case of uncontrolled COVID-19 spread: Nagaland health dept

Health department not prepared for uncontrolled spread during festivities:

The principal director told reporters that the state’s health department is not prepared for uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 during festivities like hornbill festival. Encouraging a virtual celebration, the health official said mega festivities must be avoided to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As the state does not want to enter another phase of lockdown, he said that all necessary preventive measures must be followed to control further spread of the virus. He added that during the winter season, the numbers of symptomatic cases are likely to witness an increase due to the onset of common flu.

Lockdown is “avoidable” if everyone takes it as a social responsibility to prevent the further COVID-19 transmission, he added.

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Re-infection among COVID-19 recovered patients:

Suokhrie also informed that cases of re-infection among recovered patients have been reported in the state, creating concern. In addition, Mission Director NHM Dr Kevichusa Medikhru said that as per studies, recovered COVID-19 patients who get re-infected with COVID-19 are most likely asymptomatic in nature and become potential spreaders of the virus.

According to him, all citizens must treat each other as potential carriers of the virus and follow all preventive measures to protect oneself and others.

While people have become complacent, he said that health care workers who have been battling COVID-19 in the frontline have also become fatigued. “Unless we are very careful, our state will have a serious [health] crisis”, he said.

Another fear of the medical department is the spread of common flu during the winter seasons, which could complicate COVID-19 transmission. The department, in its weekly bulletin, had said that the next three winter months will be a crucial time in the state to control the spread of COVID-19.

The health officials added that so far there is no community transmission in the state.

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