STAFF CORRESPONDENT SILCHAR, March 26 - There are no positive COVID-19 cases in Assam so far. However, if the situation worsens, the Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) could be gradually converted into COVID-19 hospital, said Minister of Health Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Himanta Biswa Sarma at Silchar Medical College and Hospital on Thursday. – UB Photos
Addressing the media after taking stock of the preparations and arrangements at the SMCH on Thursday, Dr Sarma said, “The OPDs of four departments including psychiatry, eye, dermatology and ENT will be shifted to the Silchar Civil Hospital in the next few days so that the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, except MCH services, could be transformed into a full-fledged hospital for treating COVID-19 cases.”
Government is looking into possibilities for signing an MoU with the private hospitals here so that the general patients undergoing treatment at the medical college could be shifted to the private hospitals during the current emergency period. A doctor attending COVID-19 cases for seven days shall need rest for 14 days. Hence, the final year MBBS and nursing students shall also be called in for training so that they can reinforce the medical teams in dealing with COVID-19 patients, Dr Sarma maintained.
In his words, the hospital, with ICMR recognition to screen and test samples of suspected COVID-19 cases, is well equipped with resources to tackle the situation. “Already samples of 27 cases have been tested and 23 tests came negative. Updates on the remaining tests shall be available soon. The hospital with a team of doctors and other resources is capable to deal with the situation,” he maintained.
Reacting on the confirmation of positive COVID-19 cases found in Manipur and Mizoram, the Health Minister said it is a matter of concern but the patients had a history of foreign travel and people having contact history with the respective patients have been quarantined. He said strict vigil is being maintained on the interstate borders as well.
Further, the minister made it clear that people must stay inside their homes and maintain social distancing in keeping the disease at bay. “Retail outlets in respective localities shall remain functional and people can buy vegetables and other essentials without any chaos, maintaining the guidelines set by the government. The wholesale markets shall continue to remain closed and congregation of people in places shall not be entertained,” Dr Sarma added.
On the other hand, Dr Babul Kumar Bezbaruah, principal of SMCH, informed that steps are being taken to shift the OPDs of the four departments so that doctors can concentrate on COVID-19 cases. He informed that the hospital has received the necessary kit and masks from the government.
Health and Family Welfare Department Principal Secretary Samir Kumar Sinha, Deputy Speaker Aminul Haque Laskar, Silchar MP Dr Rajdeep Roy, State Minister Parimal Suklabaidya and local MLAs and DCs of Cachar and Hailakandi attended the meeting.