BSL-3 lab to be functional within 20 days

BSL-3 lab to be functional within 20 days
Correspondent KOHIMA, APR 23 (NPN) | Publish Date: 4/23/2020 11:53:54 AM IST

Work on setting up the State’s first bio safety level-3 (BSL-3) laboratory at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) was in full swing and is expected to be functional within the next 20 days.

Informing this to media at directorate of health and family welfare (H&FW) here on Thursday evening, H&FW secretary Kesonyu Yhome said the department was working hard to ensure that the laboratory could begin testing samples for COVID-19, adding that the workers were on the job too to get it up and running at the earliest. He said more consignments for BSL-2 and 3 were expected to reach the State in the next few days.

To a query on strategies post the lockdown, he replied that the empowered committee headed by additional secretary and finance commissioner were working on them.

Tie-up with Times Group: Yhome announced that the department was collaborating with Times Group on a project called “Project Step one” to reach out to citizens who require medical consultation over phone. He said citizens requiring such assistance could call the State’s toll-free helpline number 1800 345 0001, and they would be guided to the appropriate consultant from a pool of doctors from across India depending upon the caller’s query. This facility would be available to citizens of the State in the next few days for which a separate notice would be issued.

Apology to health workers: Yhome also apologised to health workers over the issue of restricting hospital-based health workers from visiting various offices and said a message that they were being stigmatised should not go to them when they were struggling in such trying times.

Meanwhile, Yhome rejected allegation by family members of state’s first COVID-19 positive patient that the Health department was not in touch with them by claiming that health officials were in touch with them from day one. 

He claimed that the State government was in touch with Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) authorities regarding the health status. 

He said as per reports received from GMCH superintendent, the patient had initially tested positive for COVID-19 upon admission at the hospital, but the second test was negative, while the third test was positive again. He said the patient was currently stable and he had been shifted from ICU to isolation ward for further observation, adding a fourth test was due in a few days.

On allegation of poor quality equipments being provided to districts, Yhome asserted that the H&FW department could not afford to risk lives of healthcare workers who were the “frontline warriors” in the battle against COVID-19. He claimed that all district authorities were informed to come to the directorate to choose and select the equipments themselves.

Admitting that the pandemic had brought to light gaps in the healthcare delivery system in the State, including infrastructural and human resource constraints, Yhome however claimed that the State was making all-out efforts to meet the various challenges to ensure the safety of citizens with support from all sections of the society.

On shortage of medicines in pharmacies and hospitals, Yhome said stocks were available in Dimapur but in view of the containment zone in Dimapur where medicines are supplied, logistics could not be worked out as planned. However, he said they have taken note of it.

On behalf of the H&FW department, he also appreciated both print and electronic media for exhibiting high degree of professionalism in reporting and covering the pandemic, besides acknowledging the cooperation of all citizens of the State during this period of the lockdown. 

Emphasising that the lockdown measures were very crucial in breaking the chain of transmission of the virus, Yhome said he understood the hardships being faced by the people without easy access, especially to healthcare units, physicians and pharmacies etc. In this regard, he said the department had partnered with Nagaland Medical Council for providing OPD services.

He appealed to the citizens to allow healthcare workers to discharge their duties without any obstruction or hindrance either within the premises of clinical establishments or on the road.

On the other hand, appreciating Assam government for taking good care of the patient from Dimapur, nodal officer for COVID-19 Dr. Nyan Kikon claimed the samples sent for testing were being pursued with all seriousness for which the results were received on time.

On reports that the patient had tested positive twice and negative once, Kikon explained that there was no guarantee that all tests would be positive or negative. He said the fourth test was likely to be conducted on April 26 depending upon his health condition.

H&FW principal director (PD) Vizolie Z Süokhrie, who too was present, asserted that the patient did not initially show symptoms of the virus and claimed that he had left for Guwahati by making his own arrangement. He said this case should serve as a lesson for all.

Süokhrie also remarked that it was unfortunate that the ambulance booked for Mon district could not be delivered on time because of the lockdown. He however said the department was expecting to receive an ambulance this week that would be sent to Mon.

Nagaland: Results of 64 samples awaited

DIMAPUR, APR 23 (NPN): Out of 607 COVID-19 suspected samples sent for testing from Nagaland as on April 23, 543 samples have reported negative, state government spokesperson and minister planning & co-ordination, land revenue and parliamentary affairs, Neiba Kronu informed on Thursday. Kronu further stated that the results of 64 samples were awaited. 
On April 23, he said 1423 persons were screened and 106 persons were under facility quarantine. With regard to the surveillance activities in the containment zone in Dimapur in connection with the COVID-19 positive person of Dimapur detected in Guwahati, Kronu said that 5164 persons were interviewed, covering 909 households as on April 23, 2020. He said that 382 samples sent from Dimapur district had tested negative.

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