Social distancing a challenge at STNM Flu Clinic VISIT HOSPITAL ONLY IF SYMPTOMATIC, URGES MEDICAL S

Aaron Rai

Gangtok, 28 Sept:

As COVID numbers continue to go up in the state, the only COVID hospital of Sikkim, STNM Hospital is also seeing an increased footfall in the Flu Clinic which is the first stop for patients who want to get tested for the virus. With the rise in COVID cases, a lot of primary contacts are visiting the Flu Clinic which has increased the load on the health staff there.

According to sources, the Flu Clinic is receiving around 80 patients per day and this has made social distancing extremely difficult.

When this Summit Times correspondent reached STNM Hospital today, there was a patient who had tested positive via Rapid Antigen Testing at CRH Tadong following which he had been sent to STNM Hospital. This person was waiting in line at the Flu Clinic along with other patients.

Medical Superintendent, STNM Hospital, Dr CS Sharma, said that the hospital has been trying to implement social distancing rules but there is still a lack of awareness among the public and convincing people is difficult.

“This morning also we had made arrangements at the Flu Clinic. But people do not follow the rules and it is difficult for us to enforce them if people are resistant. There is still need for more awareness. People who are asymptomatic should not come to get tested but some still do. They are only risking exposure to the virus by doing so. They should isolate themselves at home,” he stated.

When asked about the patient who had testedpositive via Rapid Antigen Testing at CRH Tadong and was at the Flu Clinic today, Dr Sharma said that the person may have been sent to STNM Hospital after testing positive via RAT but he should not have gone to the Flu Clinic.

“If you have tested positive via RAT, you are COVID positive. You do not need an RTPCR test to confirm it again,” he said.

Since STNM Hospital is the only dedicated COVID hospital, patients who test positive at CRH Tadong are referred to STNM Hospital for treatment. However, they do not need to go to the Flu Clinic and if they are asymptomatic they do not need to even go to the hospital. It is advised that they isolate themselves at home if they are asymptomatic. Only symptomatic patients are admitted in the hospital.

Dr Sharma also informed that so far, around 40 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and so the hospital is short on staff as well.

He urged people to not panic and isolate at home if they are asymptomatic for the their own safety.