Bhopal: Nine of the 10 patients who were infected by coronavirus in Chhattisgarh till now have been treated successfully. However, Health Minister TS Singh Deo said the threat from the pandemic is not over yet and tests are being conducted on all suspected cases.
All the patients have been discharged from AIIMS, Raipur, with the ninth patient, a UK returnee and resident of Korba district, going back home on Monday. The 10th patient is undergoing treatment at the hospital. His condition is also stable and is recovering.
Chhattisgarh had reported the first case of COVID-19 on March 18. By April 4, the figure touched 10.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel who has been at the forefront in the state’s fight against virus, wrote about the complete recovery of nine patients in a tweet on Monday.
According to Health Department figures, over 70,000 have been home quarantined in the state as of now, while 146 have been quarantined in government facilities.
Of these, 2,151 are those who returned to state from other countries. About 60,000 quarantined people include those who came to the state from infected areas, their family members, migrant labourers, Tablighi Jamaat congregation attendees and those who came into contact with the positive patients, state’s Nodal Officer Dr Akhilesh Tripathi told News18.
AIIMS, Raipur, Director Dr Nitin Nagarkar said three points -- advanced planning, effective lockdown and Chhattisgarh not being a densely populated state -- helped the authorities keep the virus at bay.
“Following instructions from the Centre and state government, we had made all arrangements in advance. We had converted an Ayush building, a separate block at AIIMS Raipur, as Covid-19 centre where a core health team was appointed. Several physicians and paramedics volunteered to work here. We also set up a quarantine facility, separate facilities for suspects, positive patients and an operation theatre for possible pregnant women and elderly patients,” said Dr Nagarkar.
The in-house VRD (virus reference department) laboratory also worked 24x7 and till now, has tested 2,500 samples. “Also, most of the patients we treated were not in the old-age group - a vulnerable category as has been seen in several countries,” he added.
Dr Nagarkar said several doctors and paramedical staff from various government hospitals across the state have visited AIIMS, Raipur, and undergone training to deal with any emergency.
“We have a 500-bed facility at AIIMS, Raipur, and government hospitals elsewhere too are equipped to deal with the COVID-19 patients,” the senior physician said.
Regarding medication being offered to patients, Dr Nagarkar said no medicine is available for the virus till now, hence, his team relied on supportive care like ventilators and antibiotics as prescribed by the Centre through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
When asked about a large number of health department officers contracting the disease in large numbers in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, Dr Nagarkar said the officers are at the frontline of the fight and prone to get infected.
Hence, it has been made mandatory for all, including sanitation workers, in Chhattisgarh to practise safety measures like wearing safety gowns and washing hands on a regular basis. The health workers were also allowed to go home after a week’s duty and two weeks of quarantine.
The state is planning for rapid tests of suspects and test kits are being arranged for the same. The test base is being expanded, but the state government is ready to handle any adverse situation, said the health minister.
“In addition to 75,000 test kits, we are issuing a tender notice for 2.5 lakj PPEs, 2.5 lakh N95 masks, 1 lakh gloves, 10,000 goggles and 10,000 face shields, Deo wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the chief minister has asked jail authorities to ensure strict compliance of precautionary measures, like social distancing, wearinf masks and frequent washing of hands, in the state's prisons.
Baghel spoke to officials and prisoners of five central jails, district jails and sub-jails over video-conferencing on Tuesday.
The CM also enquired about cleanliness in jails, food, visitors' arrangements and release of prisoners, and also instructed the authorities to conduct health check-ups for all prisoners.
(With inputs from PTI)