Coronavirus: Cases in Chhattisgarh double in 24 hours

Written by Gargi Verma | Raipur | Published: March 27, 2020 6:06:39 am

Meanwhile, the Raipur Police registered an FIR against a 23-year-old woman, who tested positive Wednesday, for allegedly hiding information about her travel history and not following isolation and curfew orders.

The number of patients who tested positive for coronavirus in Chhattisgarh has doubled in 24 hours, from three confirmed cases on Wednesday to six on Thursday. The patients are from Bilaspur, Durg, Rajnandgaon and Raipur, with the state capital having the maximum number of reported cases till now.

According to sources, two of the patients are over 60 years of age. While contact tracing and surveillance in the state has increased, health officials are facing difficulties in getting COVID-19 testing kits from the National Institute of Virology in Pune due to lockdown.

“The ICMR is providing the kits, and I messaged the director informing him that we are running low on testing kits. He responded saying they are finding it difficult to transport the kits owing to the lockdown,” state Health Minister T S Singh Deo said. In its attempts to procure more beds, the Health Department has taken over a private hospital in Raipur, which will be converted into an isolation facility for COVID-19 patients.

On Thursday, the Health Department took over the Raipur Institute of Medical Sciences, a private hospital and training institute with over 500 beds, run by the Lord Buddha Educational Society in Godhi area of the city.

“We are trying to be prepared as at the last minute, we can’t be running around for hospital beds. We can’t push neonatal and other emergency cases from the government hospitals and some don’t even have the bed space. As of now, we have taken over this hospital but if needed we will take over other hospitals too,” Singh Deo said.

A 64-year-old woman from Bilaspur district, who returned from Saudi Arabia in February, tested positive 40 days after she travelled to the country. “We had tested her earlier, but her report had been negative. This is just one of the ways in which the virus is surprising us. As of now, there are no data about how it works. However, we are learning from the patients. Only one case has been sent for retesting,” state Health Secretary Niharika Singh Barik said.

As of now, testing for the virus is taking place at AIIMS Raipur and Jagdalpur Medical College. “We have written to ICMR asking for more kits. We have also reached out to My Lab, the Pune-based private firm that has been granted permission to make the testing kits. While My Lab is overwhelmed with requests… ICMR has run into logistic issues of how to send the kits,” a senior health official said, adding, “They will arrange a cargo and send something, but it is yet to be figured out.”

Although testing kits across the country are being supplied by the NIV, orders for them are placed through ICMR.

According to sources, the state currently has a total of about 500 kits in one of the testing centres. The state also has over 2,400 VTM testing kits, which are used for testing swine flu cases, but won’t be of much use for COVID-19 cases. “Before shutting the transport means, the central government should have identified ways to send the kits from NIV to testing centres across the country. However, we have to wait and hope that our kits don’t run out before the supplies come,” a private health expert said.

Meanwhile, the Raipur Police registered an FIR against a 23-year-old woman, who tested positive Wednesday, for allegedly hiding information about her travel history and not following isolation and curfew orders. “We have booked the woman as there is reason to believe that she had moved out and also hid information from us,” Raipur SP Arif Shaikh said. The police have registered similar FIRs against about 20 people from across the state for hiding information and travel history.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: Are smokers at high risk form coronavirus? | Can Vitamin-C prevent or cure coronavirus infection? | What exactly is community spread of coronavirus? | How long can the Covid-19 virus survive on a surface? | Amid the lockdown, what is allowed, what is prohibited?

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