Amid high COVID fatalities, Assam keeps virus under control; facilities ready
Even as a surge in COVID-19 cases post the Assembly elections in April has raised concerns, especially with the high number of fatalities, Assam has made up for some lost time, after the formation of the new government in the second week of May, to intensify measures against COVID-19 preparedness.
Thanks to pro-activeness shown by the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government, the requirements for managing the COVID situation such as oxygen, medicine, beds (ICU, oxygen and isolation) and vaccines have been sorted systematically.
This, apart from the Chief Minister monitoring hospitals across the state during late night-early morning hours, when critical COVID patients need attention from experienced doctors.
Assam now has at least 13 oxygen plants functioning with the state having a daily availability of at least 100 to 120 metric tonnes of oxygen per day, as state health minister Keshab Mahanta informed on Friday.
“Assam has surplus oxygen. More units will be set up in the districts in the coming days. Besides, the state has also supplied over 20 metric tonnes of oxygen to neighbouring states of Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh every day,” Mahanta said.
COVID MEDICINE AND DRUGS
Currently, the state requires 1600 Remdesivir injections per day as against a stock of 16,000 such injections in hand. “We have placed an order to get more stocks which will be available in 10 days. We have an adequate stock of tocilizumab injections and have also placed an order to make the DRDO 2-DG COVID drug available,” the health minister informed.
On the current status of bed availability for COVID patients, the health minister said that there are 13,863 beds vacant with 11,514 isolation beds, 1922 oxygen beds and 787 ICU beds at the health department’s disposal.
In general, COVID bed capacity has been augmented in all the medical college hospitals and civil hospitals of the state.
“We have kept another 3000 beds in Greater Guwahati ready. Nearly 600 beds are being set up in GMCH, Kalapahar COVID hospital and the COVID facility at Sarusajai. National Health Mission Assam has signed a MoU with Down Town University for 400 beds,” he said.
From March 2021 to May 20, 2021 as many as 36, 19, 975 doses (both Covishield and Covaxin) have been administered in the state.
Assam has a stock of 314, 380 vaccines for people above 45 years and 116,870 vaccines for the 18-44 years category.
“As of now, we are having a supply issue even as we have adequate stock. But the orders have been placed. By June, the supply of vaccines from the Centre will be augmented and the vaccination process in the state accelerated. The Centre will also provide vaccines to the private sector,” Mahanta said.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Thursday said that the COVID situation in the state should improve in the next 15 days provided all protocols are strictly adhered to by people.
“Several restrictions are in place and we have adhered to the micro containment policy of breaking the transmission chain. The positivity rate has come down to around 6 percent even as we are looking to enhance the testing rate, for which additional magistrates across the districts have been asked to oversee along with the vaccination process,” Mahanta said.
“According to the COVID death audit done, we have observed that mortality rates have been the highest among people in the 51 to 60 years and 61 to 70 years. This is mainly because of late reporting in hospitals apart from patients with several comorbid conditions,” the health minister said.
Assam has also released SOPs for enhancing institutional quarantine as against home quarantine, which has also been a factor triggering deaths and infections.
“We have barred COVID patients above 50 years from home isolation, considering the fact that patients come to hospitals very late, with a high percentage of them succumbing before 24 hours of arrival,” the health minister said.
(Edited by Christopher Gatphoh)
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