Gangtok, 28 Apr:
Health Secretary, Dr PT Bhutia today informed that Sikkim received fourTruenat machines today which will be used for conducting screening tests for COVID-19. The machines are being set up and calibrated, and if all goes well they would be ready for use by Wednesday, he added.
Dr Bhutia informed that along with these screening tests, samples will continue to be sent to North Bengal Medical College Siliguri for testing.
There was already a machine in the STNM hospital which is also being recalibrated to be used like the Truenat machine and altogether the hospital should have 5 machines that can conduct 5 tests in one hour, he said.
He further informed that another CBNAAT machine is also expected to arrive soon which can also conduct COVID-19 screening tests.
However, it is not confirmed if these new machines are capable of carrying out proper tests and are more likely to be used for screening purposes.
Meanwhile, the Health Secretary informed that it has been decided to conduct tests for the state’s frontline workers like health workers, police personnel, truck drivers, etc working in border areas are also going to be tested since they are more at risk of infection.
Testing guidelines continue to change and while earlier the guidelines said that indiscriminate testing should be avoided, now the centre has asked states to carry out more tests especially of frontline workers, he added.
Dr Bhutia informed that the State Task Force on COVID-19 held a meeting today where it was decided to give first priority to patients from the state who are stranded outside. After that the state will try to bring home students who are stranded outside.
The meeting discussed preparations to receive people from outside whenever that happens, he added.
So far, 113 samples have been sent for testing to Siliguri and test results are awaited for one sample. He informed that the state is equipped to handle any case of COVID-19 for now.