Gangtok: Central Referral Hospital (CRH) or Manipal Hospital in Gangtok has also been converted for COVID-19 treatment. As per a notification from the East District Administration, the CRH will have a 100-bedded ward devoted to COVID positive patients at the Hospital. 

Speaking with EastMojo, Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Yogesh Verma informed that the decision was in the pipeline for days following the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state, specifically in the East District.

He said, “Last year, there was a clear distinction on CRH Manipal to be a hospital for non-COVID treatments. But this year, with the surge in cases the decision has been changed. We are not a hospital with multiple buildings for patients, we just have one. Isolating the COVID-19 patients would be a challenge, but we have considered that the 8th and 9th floors, which have ICUs as well as evaluation wards, will be converted into the COVID section. We will begin with 50 beds for the initial cases, as and when the cases tend to rise we will add more beds.”

Also read: Sikkim: State sees biggest single-day spike in 2021 with 148 COVID cases

On being asked if the hospital had an adequate workforce to handle COVID-19 cases, Dr Verma said, “We are hospital along with a medical college, so we will have to rope in a few of the Junior Residents for the additional workforce in other non-COVID sections. But in terms of doctors, we have an adequate workforce and some of the best doctors in the State.” 

Concerns have sprung upon whether hospitals are adequately supplied with oxygen, as there has been a growing need in hospitals across the country. Dr Verma said, “We have a similar oxygen plant as STNM Hospital. It has been functional for a few years now and it also extracts oxygen from the atmosphere. It has the potential to provide 500 litres of oxygen per hour. Additionally, we retrieve jumbo oxygen cylinders from Siliguri to cope up with the shortage. So the oxygen issue, for now, seems sorted.”

On whether the hospital would go through a protocol change for new admission of patients, the Medical Superintendent informed, “We have been channelizing the COVID patients or suspected cases for the past one year. There are strict protocols in place wherein until a patient is proven otherwise, every new patient always has to go through compulsory COVID testing upon entry to the Emergency Ward or as Out Patients coming in for consultation”. 

CRH Manipal in the state capital largely caters to patients from East Sikkim as well as other districts. East Sikkim has notably the highest number of COVID cases at 817 cases in the past 22 days. Sikkim has accounted for 715 cases in the past 8 days.

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