Gangtok, 23 April (IPR): PCC-cum-Medical Superintendent, STNM, Sochakgang, Dr Passang Dorjee Phempunadi, called on a press conference at the conference hall of STNM Hospital to provide a brief report on COVID-19 related issues in the presence of various Press and Digital Media agencies of the capital today.
Addressing the gathering, Dr Passang Dorjee introduced his core team of officials behind setting up the STNM Hospital as a designated COVID-19 Hospital of the State. The core team includes Additional MS-cum-Nodal Officer (COVID-19), Dr.Yudok Bhutia, Head of Department, Anaesthesia, Dr Neelima Pradhan, Chief Consultant, Anaesthesia, Dr Gyamtso Bhutia, PCC-cum-HoD, Paediatrics, Dr Ruth Yonzon, HoD, Medicine, Dr Suresh Rasaily, and Nursing Superintendent, STNM, Ms Rajni Barfungpa.
Additional MS-cum-Nodal Officer for COVID-19, Dr Yudok Bhutia, informed that the team has identified level 7, 8 and 9 of the STNM Hospital as COVID-19 wards since the designation of the hospital as the State’s COVID-19 Hospital. She added that the ground level of the hospital has been set up as the entry point exclusively for COVID-19 suspects after diverting the previously existing physiotherapy department, diet section, CSHD section, ortho clinic and surgery clinics to other levels of the hospital.
The ground level also houses the Flu Clinic where suspects presenting flu-like symptoms (fever/cough/sore throat) or have a travel history or suspects with chances of cross-contamination undergo a thorough check-up. They are then forwarded to level 9 that has been identified as an isolation ward for suspects, she stated.
Dr Yudok further informed that the movement of Lift No. 3 from the ground level has been restricted to level 7, 8 and 9 strictly for COVID-19 suspects while Lift No. 4 is operational for the staff deputed on COVID-19 duty. She added that Lift No. 1 is to be used for dialysis patients, Lift No. 2 for hospital waste management and Lift No. 5-9 will be used for general patients.
Responding to the queries raised by the Press fraternity with regard to the COVID-19 test lab being set up at STNM Hospital, PCC-cum-MS, Dr Passang Dorjee, informed that 70% of the civil work of the new test lab being established on the ninth floor of the hospital has been completed. A slight delay might be expected owing to the nationwide lockdown since the construction materials have to be sourced from across the state border, he added.
Dr Passang stated that due to the recent credibility issues that have come up in various cases of Rapid Testing Kits, the hospital management will be now be shifting its focus on Cartridge based Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (CBNAAT) using Truenat cartridge for testing COVID-19. Resource persons will be training the manpower on the same and will be functional in a week, he added.
Head of Department, Medicine, Dr Suresh Rasaily, in his address, said that every patient or visitor entering the hospital is being screened with a thermal gun and anyone showing fever or flu-like symptoms is forwarded to the Flu Clinic. He extended gratitude to the PCC-cum-MS for conceiving and executing the idea of setting up such clinic at an early stage of the pandemic following which the doctors allocated from various departments of the hospital including paediatric specialists could identify and quarantine suspects with travel history resulting to zero cases of COVID-19 in the State of Sikkim. In order to maintain the zero case status of the State, the hospital has been sending samples of every patient showing flu-like symptoms for COVID-19 tests, he added.
The hospital management team also gave a detailed tour of all the three COVID-19 designated levels of the hospital including the isolation wards, ICUs and donning & doffing areas while explaining the norms of hygiene and safety required to be maintained by the staff.