Health dept expects 30,000 new Covid cases in 4 months; preparations underway

ITANAGAR, 4 May: The health department is expecting 30,000 new Covid-19 cases in the state in the next four months, and is making preparations for it.

Briefing the media about the preparedness of the department, Health Secretary P Parthiban on Tuesday said that direction has been issued to all the deputy commissioners, especially those in the interior areas, to set up oxygen support beds in the hospitals.

At present, the department has set up six oxygen generation plants in the hospitals in Tawang, Ziro, Aalo, Yingkiong and Tezu, and the DCH in Chimpu. With the number of Covid-19 cases rising, the department has further decided to set up seven more oxygen generation plants with the help of the UNICEF/UNDP, and 14 under the PM Cares Fund.

“We plan to have a minimum of 550 oxygen beds in the state. Very soon all districts will get oxygen generation plants under PM Care, UNDP and UNICEF,” the health secretary said.

He said that currently there are 167 oxygen beds available in the state. “The DCH in Chimpu is getting a new oxygen generation plant with a capacity of 500 litres per minute, and the capacity is being increased to 200 beds. Right now, Pasighat hospital has a 45 litre per minute oxygen generation plant with 40 beds. ICUs have been established in many district hospitals too,” Parthiban said.

The government is in the process of setting up a new oxygen generation plant with a capacity of 1,200 litres per minute at TRIHMS in Naharlagun, and a 300 litres per minute oxygen generation plant in Pasighat.

“All the districts will have oxygen generation plants with a capacity of 100 litres per minute. The process has started in this regard,” said the secretary.

On the issue of the possibility of a lockdown in the state capital, he said the deputy commissioner will take the call, based on the set guidelines.

“The DC has been authorized to make decisions on lockdown, restriction and containment zones. As per MHA guidelines, lockdown is imposed only if there is 10 percent positive cases and 60 percent bed occupancy in an area. The DC and the SP have full power to decide. They can approach the government if there is a need for a lockdown,” added Parthiban.

He also informed that whatever fine the district administration collects for violation of the Covid protocol will be used by the DC for Covid-related activities.

Parthiban acknowledged that the number of active cases has increased drastically in the last 10 days in the state.

“Today we reviewed the situation with the DC, the DMO and the SP. We are keeping a close eye on Assam as whatever situation arises there affects us. Right now, Assam has 4,500 per day and in the next 10 days the number is expected to double. As of now, Arunachal is witnessing 200 cases per day and we are expecting it to increase to 500 per day in the next 5 to 10 days,” the health secretary said.

He appealed to the public to follow the SOPs and said the government alone would not be able to stop the spread of the virus without the support of the citizens. The secretary also informed that TRIHMS has developed a protocol for the state after a videoconference with doctors of the AIIMS, Delhi.

On the issue of essential drugs for treatment of Covid-19 patients, the secretary said it is being sent to the districts.

“Procurement is being done and within two days all essential drugs will be available in all the hospitals of the state. We are clinically and medically much prepared this time. Our doctors and health workers are working tirelessly for the last one year. We need to support doctors at this juncture,” said Parthiban.