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S Dinajpur grapples with Covid cases

“The construction work is complete, while electrical work is going on and finishing touches are being given. There will be 95+ beds and 15 beds with ICU facility. We can start the hospital here within four to five days. We will also accommodate safe house patients here,” the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Sukumar Dey, said.

Srikanta Thakur | Balurghat |

The Covid-19 situation in South Dinajpur district is getting worse by the day, thanks to the rising number of cases and the shortage of beds in Covid hospitals and safe home treatment centres. The number of cases in the district crossed the 800 mark today, while sources said the safe houses and hospitals treating Covid patients are filled to the brim now.

Sources have also said that the number of symptomatic patients is also going up. Under this situation, providing beds for patients in safe homes and hospitals has come up as a major challenge for the district health department. The department has decided to convert the new building of the district youth hostel into a full Covid hospital with 95 beds and 15 ICU beds.

On the other hand, patients in home isolation are facing an emerging problem of black marketing of essential medicines. The district administration, along with the health department, has arranged for five safe houses for the treatment of asymptomatic patients in the district.

The Gokarana panchayat government building has been converted as a safe house with 20 beds in the Harirampur B, while in Gangarampur, the stadium has been turned into such facility with 54 beds. In Kumarganj, the ITI college has 30 beds, and in Balurghat, the Natya Utkarsh Kendra has 80. The ‘patha sathi’ motel in Tapan Block has 20 beds.

“The total number of beds in safe houses 200, but there has been a rise in the number of Covid cases across the blocks and accommodation for all of them is a problem. As such, the health department decided to keep all asymptomatic patients in home isolation,” a health official said.

As per the health department records, 218 patients are presently under home isolation, while there are 388 patients in six safe homes that are functional in the district. “It is impossible to accommodate the over 400 active cases in safe house treatment facilities,” said the health official.

There are 14 symptomatic patients in the Covid hospital at Prayas Atryee, which has only 20 beds and is functional in a rented house, it is learnt. “The health workers are suggesting medicines over the phone, but medicines like Vitamin C tablets are unavailable at medicine shops. Medicines are also not available in the Balurghat market,” one Covid patient in Balurghat said.

Given the situation, the health department has decided to convert the newly-constructed youth hostel into a Covid hospital with all modern treatment facilities.

“The construction work is complete, while electrical work is going on and finishing touches are being given. There will be 95+ beds and 15 beds with ICU facility. We can start the hospital here within four to five days. We will also accommodate safe house patients here,” the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr Sukumar Dey, said.

“We have decided to provide medicines free of cost for home isolation patients. Action will be taken if any medical shop is found hoarding medicines or selling them in the black market,” District Magistrate Nikhil Nirmal said. Meanwhile, as the state government has decided not to test asymptomatic persons, the rate of sample collection has decreased in the district, sources said.

Only 45 samples werecollected in the district in the past three days, official sources said. As such, only 10 new cases were detected, severn in the Balurghat Municipality, in the past 24 hours, down from the 111 cases reported on 19 July.