Four persons who had tested positive for Covid-19 died in two health facilities in Siliguri in the past 24 hours. On the other hand, the Siliguri Municipal Corporation recorded 101 cases today. However, officials said the figure was high as they also received reports of the past three days (22, 23 and 24 July) today.

An 80-year-old resident of Naukaghat died in the Desun Hospital on 22 July died there today, while a 70-year-old person of Pradhannagar also died there. A 53-year-old resident of the town admitted there on 25 July also died today. A 65-year-old resident of Rabindra Nagar died at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital yesterday.

Monitoring cell for patients in home isolation The Darjeeling district administration has set up a monitoring cell for patients undergoing treatment for Covid-19 under home isolation. On the other hand, members of the Board of Administrators (BoA) at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) have claimed that the Covid- 19 caseload in some vulnerable wards had gone down during the area-wise lockdown.

The state government has been stressing on home isolation and safe homes for asymptomatic patients or those having mild symptoms. There are 140 patients currently under home isolation in the district, while the figure is 38 for the SMC area. District magistrate S Ponnambalam chaired a corporation- level task force meeting over Covid-19 management here today.

“We have set up a cell, comprising doctors, to monitor the health status of patients under home isolation. The contact details of the cell will be given to the patients, while representatives of the cell will call the patients twice a day to study their health condition. The doctors will decide whether patients need to be hospitalised,” Mr Ponnnambalam said.

“If the requisite facilities are not available or if the patients have some other difficulties for home isolation, they will be shifted to safe homes. However, we are getting positive response,” he added. Plan to add safe homes The district administration has also stressed on increasing the number of safe homes.

“At this moment, we are planning to increase the number of beds at the safe home located at Batasi under the Kharibari block (near Siliguri). The plan is to add at least 30 more beds. At the same time, we are exploring plans to set up a safe home at Matigara block and few in the SMC area,” Mr Ponnambalam said.

According to a member of the BoA, health, SMC, Sankar Ghosh, the number of cases had gone down in hotspots like wards 2, 3, 18, 28 and 46 due to the lockdown. Before the complete lockdown in all SMC wards from 16 July, nine wards- -2, 4, 5, 28, 46 (Darjeeling district), 37, 38, 39 and 43 (in Jalpaiguri district) under the civic body area had witnessed lockdown from 9 July.

Mr Ghosh, however, said cases were on the rise in some wards under Jalpaiguri district. Meanwhile, a special medical team has been set up under the Darjeeling district chief medical officer to see if private hospitals were adhering to Covid-19 protocol on treatment, test and discharge in the wake of rising complaints and allegations.

“They will visit those hospitals. If loopholes are found, the nursing homes will be informed of the same asked to follow a uniformed policy. Repeated violation of rules will solicit action against them,” Mr Ponnambalam said. On problems related to ambulances to carry patients and over-charging, he said the administration was looking into the matter. ‘Covid Warrior Club’ The administration has also planned to set up a ‘Covid Warrior Club’ with people who have recovered from the infection at different levels in the district.

Two such clubs have already been set up at Kharibari and Naxalbari. More such clubs will be formed in the SMC area. “We will also include willing persons as volunteers, and their jobs will be to create awareness and provide support to patients under home isolation and others.

Those willing to work in safe homes or hospitals for Covid- 19 patients will be engaged as volunteers and paid a remuneration of Rs 15,000 per month,” he added. Mr Ghosh and coordinator of the Opposition at the SMC, Ranjan Sarkar, also said, “Ward Covid Club’ had come up in some wards and more are in the offing. Mr Ghosh further said rapid antigen tests will be started in Sliguri. He said they had proposed the DM to take initiatives for carrying out the random tests in boroughs under the SMC.