100% testing for all who enter Sikkim: Health director-general
Gangtok: The state health department of Sikkim said that 100% testing will be done on all individuals returning to the state. With around 83 stranded Sikkimese people being brought to the state on Tuesday, state health director general Dr Pempa T Bhutia told EastMojo on Wednesday that STNM will be conducting Truenat Beta Testing, followed by CB-NAAT testing with procurement of cartridges being facilitated soon along with North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) raising the upper sealing on testing to 200 per day.
"When the stranded Sikkimese people are coming home, we don’t know how many days ago they were exposed or contacted with COVID. When we do test, after 7-8 days of contact, it shows 100% result but if we do it on the first day of their arrival, the test may showcase as negative. After keeping them for a week or so in government facility quarantine, we can start testing on everyone,” said Dr Bhutia highlighting how district hospitals and government facility quarantine in Singtam, Rangpo, and South Sikkim and West Sikkim districts are being encouraged to conduct testing with NBMCH.
Elsewhere, stranded people who come to Gangtok and North Sikkim district facility quarantine, the testing for them will be done in STNM Hospital.
On complaints of facility quarantine being set up closer to residential areas or concerns pouring in from the villages, the director general highlighted how the world is fighting against COVID. "People who come to the state and do not test positive are not patients, if they are negative they are allowed to come. Those that have come are all our students and people opposing them are not digestible. We should encourage return and upon the same facility quarantine is the solution. As a medical practitioner, I would advise the same,” stated Bhutia.
He asserted that facility quarantine gives better attention with observation and control. The same may not be available at home, which will help in keeping the state COVID free.
At the border, health officials are conducting the screening and admitting the case to the district administrative for facility quarantine, similar procedure was followed on Tuesday as well. With Rangpo and Melli check posts having good thermal screeners which showcase full details of the patient. "Self-declaration is being made mandatory, so is screening and travel history with most needing merely home quarantine for now but facility quarantine is being encouraged. The coordination is necessary between the administration and the State Task Force with health aiding with Medical Officers being devoted at every quarantine facility". The Director-General also asserted that health workers must be preferred for early evacuation as they will be of need in later scenario.
Sikkimese testing positive in Delhi
Elsewhere, Dr Pempa also shed light on the scenario at DKK Bhawan in Green Park, New Delhi where six Sikkimese have tested positive. "Of the six positive cases, two are patients while four of them are attendants of the patients. When the first positive case came to light, we had shifted all the other patients who had to frequent hospitals, who were dialysis or chemotherapy patients. Those kept in DKK Bhawan will not be allowed to come out as they are under quarantine currently with approval from government. Patients who are admitted will have to undergo a high cost for treatment with the upper limit of Ra 2 lakhs for APL and 3 lakhs for BPL", he said.
In DKK Bhawan led by Health Assistant Director Dr Neelam Rasaily over a 100 tests were conducted in coordination with the state government and Delhi government. "There were 100 residents at the Bhawan including 33 patients and the rest being attendants of the patients and staffs of DKK Bhawan. One normal patient who had a case of concern had expired and not because of Coronavirus. Positive cases are shifted to quarantine with Delhi government taking the responsibility. Rest of the people are safer at the Bhawan, as they have been together for quite some time”, stated the Health Director General claiming there is no further contamination at the Bhawan. "There have been demands for being shifted, with the Delhi government insisting on facility quarantine for them as well. The same was duly noted by the Residential Commissioner in Delhi", he added.
On the medical preparedness of DKK Bhawan, the Health Director General highlighted how all the procurement of medicines and kits to Sikkim are initially facilitated by the Residential Commissioner who has kept a good stock of such medicines and kits for Sikkimese patients in Delhi. "DKK Bhawan is being seen as safe for quarantine with all the negative cases currently being adhered by the state government while positive cases are being taken care by the Delhi government".