Nagaland Health dept prepares for probable second wave of COVID-19

A health worker prepares a dose of Covishield vaccine in Dimapur on January 16. (Morung File Photo)
A health worker prepares a dose of Covishield vaccine in Dimapur on January 16. (Morung File Photo)

Morung Express News
Kohima | April 13

Fearing the worst of what may come, as the COVID-19 positive cases continue to spike after a lowdown, the Health department has set the ground preparations to face the challenges of more severe problems in case of a second wave.

Speaking to a section of media personnel at his office chamber at the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare, Principal Director, Dr Kevichusa Medikhru said a series of discussion have been going to take stock of whatever failures have occurred during the past year dealing with COVID-19 pandemic.

“We may possibly face more difficulties and problems than the previous year, and our people shouldn’t be caught unprepared” said Dr Medikhru.

Genome sequencing
As the positive cases rise with emerging new symptoms which include nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea etc, Dr Medikhru expressed disappointment that the community, including the health workers have become very complacent about COVID-19.

He strongly advised that people have to be careful as COVID-19 is an emergent virus and people are still studying and researching to understand the virus.

When enquired if there is a probable presence of new strains in the state, with new symptoms unlike the past year, he informed that the department is conducting the process of ‘genome sequencing’ to identify the presence of new strains of the virus.

Genome sequencing also known as ‘full genome sequencing, complete genome sequencing or entire genome sequencing’ is the process of determining the entirety of the DNA sequencing of an organism’s genome at a single time.

Community not cooperating
The biggest challenge being faced by the department at present, according to Dr Medikhru is the non-cooperation of the people during contact tracing. It was informed that people are not revealing the identity for contact tracing by giving fake names and phone numbers. 

To this, he maintained that the community as a whole should come together, without which the department or the government alone cannot contain the spread of the virus.

Vaccine for 19-45 years may come with a price
On being enquired on the vaccination of those below 45 years of age who might have co-morbidity, Dr Medikhru said talks are ongoing at the centre to provide vaccine to these age groups.

However, he said, it may not come for free and those willing to be inoculated may have to pay a certain price.

He also assured that there are sufficient vaccines at the moment, and urged the people not to be apprehensive of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Increased maternity mortality rate
As per the assessment made by the department on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on other health services in the State in the past year, Dr Medikhru said other health care essentials have been badly affected.

He informed of the huge implications on non-communicable diseases and increased on maternity mortality rate owing to the conversion of all hospitals into COVID Care Centers (CCCs).

Towards this end, and as a lesson learnt from the past and in preparation of a probable wave of COVID-19, the Principal Director said all the district hospitals in the State have been directed to make alternative arrangements.

He informed that District Hospitals are to identify certain places so as not to neglect other ailments but to continue health care services along with COVID-19 cases.

Total lockdown not likely
On being asked if there is a possibility of a total lockdown in the state last year, Dr Medikhru said discussions are going on and it will depend on the situation.

As a lesson learnt, he said total lockdown have huge implications on the people leading to economic crisis as well, and as such he said total lockdown is not encouraged and that if needed, district-wise or area-wise lockdown may be imposed as and when situation arises.