Nagaland grapples with daily spike in COVID-19 cases

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Nagaland grapples with daily spike in COVID-19 cases
Kohima, Jun 6 () After remaining coronavirus-free as late as end of the last month, Nagaland is witnessing a jump in such cases everyday in nearly a fortnight time, owing to the influx of migrants from different infected regions of the country.

After the detection of the first three cases on May 25, the figure is climbing with every passing day to reach 107 cases in the state on Saturday.

Official sources said all infected persons in the state are returnees from outside, who are presently lodged in government quarantine centres.

The north eastern state is yet to come out with recovery figure as the infected persons have not completed the 14-day mandatory quarantine period after which they will be subjected to repeat tests to ascertain their status.

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Talking to , Nagaland Secretary for Health and Family Welfare, Kesonyu Yhome said, "All these cases are imported (people returning from outside the state)."

The good thing is that all of them are under the facility of the government and yet to mingle with the local residents, he said.

"The 14 days period of the COVID-19 positive patients is yet to be over because of which the recovery rate has been nil in the state," the health secretary said.

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On how the department has been managing the sudden spurt in positive cases, he said, "The 14 days in government facilities and another 14 days of home quarantine are crucial for us because that gives the state time to prepare all the checking mechanisms for these people.

"The main concern will begin if there will be local transmission because as of now no random testing is being done," he said.

Yhome also said that since the returnees from other parts of the country are still under the government facility, management of the positive cases is much easier than it would have been if they had been staying in their own communities.

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He said no report of spread of infection has come to light through departmental surveillance and reports collected from various pharmacies about people buying medicines for flu.

On the existing health infrastructure and human resources to fight the pandemic, the official said as far as the health sector is concerned, Nagaland has never been comfortable or adequate with man power.

"A mention be made here that with no lab testing facility of COVID-19 samples, the state had been sending the samples to Assam and Manipur till May end. The BSL-3 lab was set up on May 21, while testing commenced from May 22.

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"Though the number of positive cases are increasing and even if it rises up and reaches some level of stability in risk time, we can still manage to contain it," he said.

"… but if there is local transmission and huge increase of positive cases, we cannot say we are prepared," Yhome said.

The whole idea is to contain the virus within the quarantine facilities so that all those who have tested positive can go back healthy, asserted the health secretary.

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He said in order to ramp up manpower, the government has already approved fresh appointments considering the inadequacy in the health sector.

While the process for immediate appointment of 27 doctors has begun, selection of more doctors and nurses during this pandemic situation is in the pipeline.

About infected persons, he said, most of the positive cases are asymptomatic and they are all young people.

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"We are making efforts to keep them asymptomatic or up to the level of mild (cases) by keeping them in good health through vitamins and nutritious food," Yhome added.

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