Delta variant of Covid affects pregnant women, hypertensive people, younger population more: Drs

[ Taba Ajum ]

ITANAGAR, 6 Jul: With Arunachal, particularly the Itanagar capital region (ICR), being hit hard by the second wave of Covid-19, doctors at the dedicated Covid hospital (DCH) in Chimpu said that pregnant women and hypertension patients are more affected by the Delta variant of Covid-19, which is rampaging through the entire country.

In a detailed conversation with this reporter, Dr Tamar Paleng, nodal officer and the man behind the successful running of the DCH, said the Delta variant is leading the charge in the second wave in the state.

“The second wave has hit the younger population hard in the state. The majority of the people who died or were admitted in a serious condition are aged between 20 and 40 years. Now also, many young patients are battling for life in our hospital,” informed Dr Paleng.

He cited delay in testing as the main reason for the high mortality rate due to Covid-19. “Most people who are coming late for treatment are dying. If you have slight symptoms, don’t waste time. Get tested early and start treatment. The delay in starting treatment can be fatal,” he added.

The DCH in Chimpu has been praised for its efficient service in the battle against Covid-19. Many serious patients who recovered recently took to social media to praise the professionalism and sincerity of the healthcare workers of the DCH. Dr Paleng credited his team of 140 staffers and the support of the political bosses for it.

“First of all, I would like to thank the chief minister, the speaker, the health minister and the MLAs for agreeing to turn the MLA apartment into a Covid hospital. Besides patients, the healthcare workers have also benefitted from this decision. When Covid arrived, everyone was scared and healthcare workers could not go home. Here we have accommodation and food. This has considerably eased our pain,” said Dr Paleng.

The DCH in Chimpu started operation on 16 August, 2020. “Till now, 1,021 patients have been treated. Of them, 956 recovered and were discharged. Patients from East Kameng, Upper Subansiri, Tawang, Lower Subansiri, West Kameng and Papum Pare have been treated,” informed Dr Paleng.

The DCH has set up facilities such as a dialysis centre, an operation theatre and a delivery room for the people infected with Covid-19. “We have performed two major surgeries on patients who were Covid positive and needed urgent surgery. Also, 103 deliveries have been conducted and 18 patients have availed dialysis facilities,” informed Dr Paleng.

Further, Dr Paleng said that the DCH is being upgraded in anticipation of the third wave, which is expected to hit the state in the future.

“The bed capacity is being increased to 210 beds with central oxygen supply. The ICU beds are being increased to 20. Also, 10 more ventilators are being installed, taking the total to 20. We have also installed a new 500 lpm oxygen plant,” he said.

Identifying the issue of manpower as the main challenge in running the DCH, Dr Paleng warned that if Covid-19 cases continue to rise alarmingly, it might be difficult to manage the hospital.

“If the cases continue to rise, we will be in trouble. In the first wave too, we faced the shortage of nursing officers. To our relief, the NHM and the DMOs of the ICR and Papum Pare offered help,” he added.

Dr Paleng urged the people not to take the virus lightly, and appealed to them to observe Covid-appropriate behaviour.

The DCH in Chimpu is managed by TRIHMS, Naharlagun.