Credit: Representational image

Gangtok: Sikkim has started testing people who are returning from outside. Tests were conducted on the first batch of people who entered the state from Siliguri in West Bengal, which is a red zone. The first 20 tests were done at STNM hospital, the designated COVID-19 facility in Sikkim. They testing using Truenat machines have come out negative.

STNM in Sochaygang near Gangtok is a designated COVID-19 hospital

A total of 32 samples were received by the designated COVID 19 hospital, which is currently the centre for tests for urban areas in East and North Sikkim districts. Up to 97 samples were sent to North Bengal Medical College on May 12, with 57 being from rural East District centre at Singtam district hospital under CMO East, along with 20 each from West and South Sikkim.

State health director-general Dr Pempa Tshering Bhutia on Tuesday highlighted how the tests are being encouraged for those in quarantine after five days of arrival to the State.

Also Read: Why Sikkim has been able to maintain zero COVID-19 cases till date

“Taking the samples collectively from those in quarantine is becoming a concern for us. Altogether 184 people had opted for quarantine on Monday upon their arrival, cumulatively there are over 1,072 people in different quarantine facilities as on Monday. Hence, we have devoted STNM as the centre for testing of urban East quarantine facility patients along with North District. While, from the rural East district, West and South Districts, they are being sent to North Bengal Medical College and Hosptial, Siliguri as they are in the proximity of reaching Siliguri quicker with a police escort,” he said

The samples from STNM Hospital and other district hospitals were collectively being sent to NBMCH, with the embargo at the North Bengal Hospital for Sikkim samples being 200 per day. But, for STNM Hospital now, the samples will be sent only if they do not come as negative.

So far, of the 32 samples received at STNM Hospital, 20 have come as negative through TrueNat testing

“So far, of the 32 samples received at STNM Hospital, 20 have come as negative through Truenat testing. We have a capacity for 40 samples testing in a day as we have five devices for Truenat testing with each device taking at least an hour for testing and eight hours of devotion can avail only about 40 samples in a day,” informed the director-general saying that there are 1,440 Truenat testing kits in the State currently. If there arises the requirement of more such kits, we can collect these from Sikkim House Residential Commissioner in New Delhi, he said.

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