Dharamshala: At the routine 20th taskforce briefing, Tenzin Dolker of Health Department, Dr Tenzin Tsundue of Delek Hospital and Dr Tsering Tsamchoe updated the pandemic status, reviewed measures undertaken by the CTA and shared relevant guidance for public awareness.
Tenzin Dolker of Health Department addressed pandemic concerns with reference to the Q& A session organised by WHO, on 4 central concerns, increased screentime, smoking risks, guidance for virus-positive new mothers with regard to breastfeeding and using facemasks.
Due to the public gathering restrictions, all interactions have to be virtual, including play, learning which has increased the amount of screen time spent daily. She suggested limiting screen-time and instead increase physical activity or reading, dancing, etc. On the link between smoking and coronavirus, which is not clear as yet, WHO has suggested quitting smoking especially at this time, because touching cigarettes does bring the risk of surface contamination. Heart and lung functioning improve greatly within 2-12 weeks of quitting, within 12 hours, BP level normalises and carbon monoxide is released, and in 1-9 months, coughing and breathing problems subside.
A COVID-19 positive mother can breastfeed her baby, however, coronavirus-preventive measures like washing hands, wearing masks, and sanitising all surface areas with contamination risk must be followed thoroughly. Using facemasks must be supplemented by maintaining physical distance of at least 1 metre and avoiding touching of the face. At this time, children’s vaccination follow-ups must be done as per schedule.
Dr Tsamchoe shared the pandemic status of exile Tibetan community for this week: A total of 9 people were reported, of which 4 from Mundgod, 3 from Mangalore and 2 from Ladakh. In Mundgod: a 24 yo female, asymptomatic, 3 males- a 21yo, 41yo and a 44-year-old, with 2 asymptomatic and 1 with mild symptoms, all receiving treatment in COVID-care centre in Taluk. In Mangalore: 24yo F, mild symptoms, 25yo F asymptomatic, 24yo F with mild symptoms with 2 of them in-home quarantine. In Ladakh: a 31yo F, whose mild symptoms disappeared, and a 25yo F, both of whom are receiving care in the community quarantine centre. The emergency committee and doctors of both Tibetan and Western traditions have contacted them and provided them with SORIG package.
The total pandemic cases currently stand at 88 in Nepal and India, 67 recoveries and 2 deaths and 19 active cases.
The quarantine committee reports 485 people across 29 settlements and 3, in India and Nepal respectively are in quarantine, including 247 in-home quarantine, 238 in CTA set up community quarantine centres, with 44 in quarantine in Dharamsala.
Passive surveillance committee reports across 36 settlements as per this week’s data, 7600 were contacted through phone calls to enquire for symptoms if any, including 5,902 elderly aged above >60,1698 from vulnerable groups, with 2,402 in Dharamsala, including 547 from Gangkyi points of entry.
Sanitisation drive across settlements are being conducted regularly.
Swab tests are in progress, so far 10 from Dharamsala were tested and none reported positive, 28 were tested yesterday whose reports are awaited. Across 29 settlements, 2109 were tested and 69 in Nepal.
Mental health committee reported that 300 quarantine residents and COVID patients have received guidance and counselling over phone calls.
Virtual training workshops conducted for healthcare workers covered 19 staff, with Tenzin Khang and Phende Hosptial in Hunsur and Jhampaling in Nepal, so far 138 covered in India and 7 in Nepal.
Dr Tsamchoe shared some guidance relating to pregnant women in the pandemic situation.
She shared that though no data indicated pregnant women are more vulnerable to coronavirus, however, lung damage was a risk of infection, appealing them to follow safety measures like wearing facemasks and contact the hospital if symptoms are noticed but said it was not mandatory to get tested and abide by government norms where applicable. In addition, Dr Tsamchoe informed about special provisions for pregnancy and advised following precautionary measures, and take the guidance of a senior medical officer for concerns about undergoing surgical procedure for delivery.
Dr Tsundue made an urgent appeal concerning returnees and clarified misconceptions. Returnees were asked to inform prior to arrival for arrangements of quarantine facilities and conducting tests.
The DC of Kangra has issued a new guideline for those coming from high-risk areas like Ladakh to undergo 14-days quarantine at the community centre. He addressed online discussions about Russia’s COVID-19 vaccination, which is still under study for its effectivity and stressed on preventive practices like hand washing, using facemasks and physical distance. He advised against travelling to red zones like hotspots, Sambal village near Paonta in Mandi, and Dahot and Kohra in Chauntra. 151 samples were collected through combined efforts of CTA health department and Delek hospital, with 1 testing positive who since then has turned negative and returned home, with 28 new tested yesterday whose results are awaited.