Gangtok: With a doctor from STNM Hospital’s emergency ward testing positive for COVID-19, 14 nurses along with patients have been contained inside the emergency ward. Three doctors are said to be exposed to the doctor while making rounds on July 24.
While patients are still inside the emergency ward, the contact doctors have been facilitated in Annexure Building while the nurses have been shifted to the Yatri Niwas inside the hospital premises. All the exposed health workers will carry out the emergency services in the contained section of the emergency ward.
Speaking with media, Health Director-General Dr Pempa Tshering Bhutia said, “No new patients will be taken in the contained emergency ward for the next one week. All emergency services will be catered by the Central Referral Hospital, Manipal at its emergency ward. They had placed the demands for Rapid Antigen Testing and 100 units of the same have been made available to the hospital. Elsewhere, to ease the load on Manipal Hospital, District Hospital have been instructed to restrict referral of patients such that Manipal does not face rush, the intimation for the same has taken place with Medical Superintendent at Manipal Hospital (Dr Gautam Dey)”.
To initiate the emergency services, CRH Manipal will be first conducting Rapid Antigen Testing for its existing patients. Meanwhile, patients at the STNM emergency ward will not be discharged for a week. While, tests for the existing patients as well for the 3 doctors and 14 nurses will be carried out on July 29 or July 30, informed Dr Bhutia.
On the source of the spread of the virus, Dr Bhutia stated, “A few days ago, we were facing shortage of beds at the Flu Clinic of the COVID section, seeing the same, patients were sent to the emergency section of the STNM Hospital. We fear that is when the doctor might have come in contact with the positive patient, as one of the patients did test positive later. But flu clinic has extra beds now, and all such COVID suspected patients will be handled in the Flu Clinic itself. All such patients who were present on that day of exposure are being traced, as they have been lodged in the log book at the emergency ward”. Dr Bhutia highlighted that emergency patients stay in the ward for relatively short period of time, either being discharged as soon as they recover or they being sent to the wards at the hospital for further treatments, if the cases are severe.
Dr Bhutia admitted that the Health Department was prepared on the exposure of the doctors and health workers, hence they had inclined on rotation of health workers in the COVID section while strict PPE guidelines for other non-COVID exposed health workers. “The reason for exposure can be because the patients cannot be provided with PPE suits”.
The emergency section could be opened only after a week at STNM Hospital, while consideration are being made to open emergency services at the Old STNM Hospital as well along with OPD services from Monday. Yet, Dr Bhutia admitted, “Emergency services need extra attention of MRI and CT Scan depending on cases like head injuries and others. While Old STNM will have blood samples taken, any other services and tests again need to come to STNM Hospital down at Sochyagang”.