No community transmission yet: Pangnyu

S Pangnyu Phom_Twitter @ pangnyu
S Pangnyu Phom_Twitter @ pangnyu

‘Majority of cases among armed forces’

DIMAPUR, AUGUST 2 (MExN): Nagaland Minister for Health and Family Welfare, S Pangnyu Phom today insisted that “there is no community transmission in the State as of now.” This has been deduced “as history of contacts has been established in all cases,” he said.

In a statement, the Health Minister said there has been a spike in the number of positive cases in the recent days particularly in Kohima and Dimapur. He said that majority of the confirmed case are among armed forces personnel and assured that vigorous contact tracing is being carried out and in all positive cases the source of infection has been traced. 

Out of the total reported mortalities, some are attributed to COVID-19 infection with multiple co-morbidities. All the reported COVID-19 death cases are presently under investigation by the COVID-19 Death Review Committees at the district and state level, he said. Based on the report, such cases will be confirmed as COVID-19 death or otherwise. 

He extended condolences to the bereaved families, while asking patients to be strong, courageous and not to lose hope.

BSL-2 Dimapur fully functioning
On the BSL-2 lab in Dimapur, the Minister informed that there was a temporary disruption of functioning from July 23 to July 28 due to acute shortage of consumables due to disruption of supply chain consequent to the lockdown at Guwahati; and shortage of key products like pipettes all over the country.

The lab is now functioning in full capacity and the sample backlog for COVID testing is about 700 samples. The lab has tested a total of 4,700 tests since its inauguration on June 27. 

He informed that PCR reagents kits and viral test media are supplied by ICMR and the rest of the consumables, RNA extraction kits etc are financed by the State Government. All tests are conducted free and no patients are charge anything for these tests.

BSL-2 Lab Tuensang to be commissioned by August end
The Minister informed that the BSL-2 Lab at Tuensang is at its final stage of construction. There has been some delay which is also linked to lockdown at Guwahati and compounded by quarantining of the technicians for 14 days, he informed. However, the lab is expected to be commissioned by the third week of August. 

Testing capacity at 1,200 per day
The Minister meanwhile detailed the steps which were taken by the government since January 20, 2020 to contain the pandemic. 

The Minister stated that the State now has capacity to test over 1,200 samples per day. Additionally Rapid Antigen Tests are also now made available for COVID-19 testing. Private hospitals and laboratories have been permitted COVID-19 testing by Truenat as well as Rapid Antigen Test as per GOI Guideline.

As of August 1, the State has tested 38,634 samples. The testing per million population is 17,800 per million which is higher than the national average of 14,370 per million. The Minister said that the test positivity rate is at 4.74 % which is lower than the national average of 8.76%. This he said suggests that despite more testing, the infection rate is lower in the State. 

He further informed that 622 isolation beds and 53 ICU beds with 52 ventilators are now available, which is being further expanded. 

The Minister also thanked frontline workers. He informed that about 542 doctors, 2,065 nurses and various supporting staff including contractual manpower are involved in this fight against the pandemic and delivery of essential health services covering 13 COVID-19 Hospitals, 12 Covid Care Centre, 261 Designated Quarantine Centre, 21 CHCs, 127 PHC, 396 SCs, 1 Mental Health Hospital and 2 TB&CD Hospitals.

He further appreciated the Central Government, developmental partners, donors & well-wishers, particularly Tata Sons and Tata Trust, and all the Civil Societies, Churches and NGOs for their constant support.

“It is very natural to get worried and fear the uncertainty,” the Minister recognized, however stating that “the virus can be contained and it must be contained at any cost.” 

The most important measures to prevent and control COVID-19 is to stay healthy, not get infected ourselves, and prevent others as well from getting infected, he said, and urged all citizens to adopt safe practices and adhere with the advisories issued by the State Government.