144 new COVID-19 cases in Assam; total rises to 1,024
Guwahati, May 29 () Assam crossed the 1,000-mark in COVID-19 cases on Friday with 144 new patients, including six air travellers, and the tally stood at 1,024 in the state now, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
Eighty-nine COVID-19 cases were reported in the night, 25 in the evening and 30 during the day.
A dedicated treatment unit for COVID-19 patients at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) became functional from Friday, the health minister said.
A repatriation flight from Kuwait, carrying 155 passengers under the Vande Bharat Mission scheme, arrived at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in the evening, a spokesperson of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) said.
Among the 89 cases reported in the night, 30 were from Kamrup, 17 from Tinsukia, 14 each from Guwahati and Dhubri, 10 from Cachar and four from Dhemaji.
Twenty-five new COVID-19 cases were detected in the evening -- six air travellers, 11 from Kamrup (Metro) and eight from Hojai, Sarma said.
Among the 30 new cases reported during the day, 16 were from Golaghat, six from Karimganj and two each from Lakhimpur, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karbi Anglong, he said.
Twenty-four patients were discharged on Friday, including 12 from Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH), six from GMCH, three from Silchar Medical College Hospital and one from Jorhat Medical College Hospital, taking the number of recovered and discharged patients in the state to 125.
Of the total 1,024 cases, 892 are active, while four patients have died, three have migrated and 125 have recovered, the minister said.
Sarma also inaugurated an exclusive COVID-19 treatment unit at GMCH and said the Rs 150-crore centrally-funded unit is perhaps the first of its kind in eastern India.
It is housed in a new building and has 236 beds -- 50 in the ICU and 186 in the wards -- with each bed having a dedicated supply of medical gas.
The unit is centrally air-conditioned and equipped with 14 Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UGVI) systems, imported from Canada, which will help improve the indoor air quality and bacteria management.
Sarma said the latest COVID-19 patients are mostly those who have returned from other states.
This week alone saw 637 cases. Monday saw the highest single-day spike of 156 cases followed by 139 on Tuesday, 101 on Wednesday, 97 on Thursday and 144 on Friday.
The state government has partially modified the existing protocols for COVID-19 test, by which swab samples of all patients should be taken on the fifth day after the initial positive result.
If the test result of the sample taken on the fifth day is negative, a repeat swab sample would be taken on the sixth day.
If the results of both the samples taken on the fifth and sixth days are negative, the patient will be released from hospital, subject to verification of the asymptomatic status and approval of discharge by the State Discharge Board, according to an order by the state Health and Family Welfare department's Principal Secretary Samir Sinha.
Hospitals and testing laboratories will give priority to testing COVID-19 patients.
In Assam, 92,390 samples have been tested for COVID-19 so far, with 10,24 testing positive, 84,933 negative and the remaining results are awaited, according to a Health and Family Welfare department bulletin.
The state has decided that everyone coming from outside will be sent for institutional quarantine. No home quarantine will be allowed for the first seven days, till the test results are received.
It has made partial modifications to exemptions from institutional quarantine, which include any woman who has travelled alone to Assam by train or plane need not undergo institutional quarantine provided she is asymptomatic, but has to undergo 14-day home quarantine after compliance with health protocols such as collection of swab samples for COVID-19 test.
Any senior citizen who has travelled to Assam by air need not undergo institutional quarantine, provided the person is asymptomatic. However, the person shall undergo home quarantine for 14 days. Exemption from institutional quarantine in case of senior citizens, however, is not applicable to travel by a bus or train.
For Army, Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces personnel travelling to Assam, each agency shall nominate a senior official as its nodal officer to liaise with district magistrates and other representatives of the state government, as required.
The nodal officer shall communicate movement of the returning personnel in advance to the DMs where the disembarking airport or train station is located and the districts where the cantonment or group centres are located.
The nodal officer will confirm that adequate institutional quarantine facilities have been created for the personnel within the cantonment. There will be a general protocol for the Army, Air Force and CAPF personnel on official duty or deployment.
Screening of all personnel will be done at disembarking railway station or airport by district authorities in coordination with the Army, Air Force or CAPF authorities.
The personnel will directly proceed to their cantonment, where adequate institutional quarantine facilities will be created by the authorities. Any asymptomatic personnel will have to undergo a combined institutional quarantine inside the cantonment or camp.Defence personnel returning to their home in Assam on leave will have to follow quarantine and testing protocols stipulated for the public, according to the order. DG NSD
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