Don’t fret over positivity rate, instead insist on Covid-appropriate behavior at all times: Dr Pempa

Sagar Chettri

Gangtok, 16 Jul:

Director General-cum-Secretary, Health Department, Dr Pempa T Bhutia, today explained that main reason behind the still high positivity rate in Sikkim was the low number of testing being carried out and called on the people not to get too worried about the Covid situation just on the basis of this statistic.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Bhutia informed that the low number of daily tests were because of hesitation among the people to get tested. What was even more worrying about this trend was that people were instead opting for self-medication which is ill-advised in any medical condition and especially so when it comes to Covid.

He appealed to people not to self-medicate and get tested if they feel they have been exposed to the virus so that they receive proper medical attention and follow-up.

There have been Covid fatalities in the state because people opted for self-medication and arrived at the hospital too late, he stressed.

To contain Covid, people need to get tested in time so that not only do they receive medical attention in time but also so that they get briefed on Covid protocols and don’t spread the virus.

“These days, while it is noteworthy that people follow Covid protocols and isolate themselves if they develop symptoms, there is still a very high number who avoid doctors and medicate themselves. We have to stop this practice and the Chief Drug Inspector has been directed to stop over-the-counter sale of COVID medicines,” Dr Bhutia said.

The Health Secretary pointed out that Sikkim has the best doctor and nurses-to-population ratio in the country and people should use this to their advantage and consult doctors in time and follow their instructions.

As for the Covid scenario, he added that while daily infections are still in three-digits, hospitalizations have fallen and this, he said, was probably an effect of vaccination.

While vaccinated people could still get infected, chances of them developing serious health complications are low, he said, and the low number of hospitalizations can be explained to that, he added.

While providing comparative data of the first and second wave in the State, Dr Bhutia informed that Sikkim recorded 6,428 cases out of 86,548 samples screened and a positivity rate of was 7.4% in the first wave while in the second wave so far, 16,364 cases have been detected from the 89,105 samples screened giving a positivity rate so far of 18.37%.

While 136 COVID deaths were recorded in the first wave, the second wave has claimed 181 lives so far.

That said, the fatality rate was lower this time.

Dr Bhutia pointed out that while the case fatality rate was 2.12% in the second wave, it works out to 1.11% for the second wave.

He further detailed that while 112 [82%] of the Covid deaths in the first wave were with co-morbidities, in the second wave 51% of the deaths were of patients with co-morbidities.

While giving details of infections among 18 to 44 year olds, he informed that in the first wave, 4,181 new cases [65%] were in this age-group and in the second wave, they make up 64% of the infections.

As for infections among those below 18 years of age, the age-group not yet cleared for vaccination, Dr Bhutia informed there were only 469 [7.3%] infections in the age bracket in the first wave and that in the second wave 2,742 under-18 year olds have tested positive [16.76%]. While in the first wave, there were two Covid deaths in the age-group, the second wave has thus far claimed the lives of three under 18 year olds. As for hospitalization, he informed that 48 children were admitted in the first wave and only 11 have been admitted so far in the second wave.

On the recent allegation of SDF spokesperson on Health Department on misguiding the Governor, he explained the case fatality rate was 1.03% and the positivity rate was 11.8% in June 2021 and 7998 samples were tested from 01 to 09 July and 1421 were found positive for COVID and the positivity rate comes to 17.7% and case Fatality rate stands at 0.35%. On the same, he mentioned that these figures were submitted to the Governor during the meeting on 10 July.

On COVID-19 vaccination, he informed that 85% of the healthcare workers have received at least the first dose while 75% were fully vaccinated. 74% of the frontline workers have received at least the first dose and 60% have taken both the shots.

He added that 92% of the above 45 year olds have received at least the first dose and 58% have covered their schedule. In the 18-45 age-group, 89% have already received their first dose.

As for worries over the Delta-Plus variant of the virus, he shared that while this variant was a concern, no cases have been detected in the State thus far.Sagar Chettri

Gangtok, 16 Jul:

Director General-cum-Secretary, Health Department, Dr Pempa T Bhutia, today explained that main reason behind the still high positivity rate in Sikkim was the low number of testing being carried out and called on the people not to get too worried about the Covid situation just on the basis of this statistic.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Bhutia informed that the low number of daily tests were because of hesitation among the people to get tested. What was even more worrying about this trend was that people were instead opting for self-medication which is ill-advised in any medical condition and especially so when it comes to Covid.

He appealed to people not to self-medicate and get tested if they feel they have been exposed to the virus so that they receive proper medical attention and follow-up.

There have been Covid fatalities in the state because people opted for self-medication and arrived at the hospital too late, he stressed.

To contain Covid, people need to get tested in time so that not only do they receive medical attention in time but also so that they get briefed on Covid protocols and don’t spread the virus.

“These days, while it is noteworthy that people follow Covid protocols and isolate themselves if they develop symptoms, there is still a very high number who avoid doctors and medicate themselves. We have to stop this practice and the Chief Drug Inspector has been directed to stop over-the-counter sale of COVID medicines,” Dr Bhutia said.

The Health Secretary pointed out that Sikkim has the best doctor and nurses-to-population ratio in the country and people should use this to their advantage and consult doctors in time and follow their instructions.

As for the Covid scenario, he added that while daily infections are still in three-digits, hospitalizations have fallen and this, he said, was probably an effect of vaccination.

While vaccinated people could still get infected, chances of them developing serious health complications are low, he said, and the low number of hospitalizations can be explained to that, he added.

While providing comparative data of the first and second wave in the State, Dr Bhutia informed that Sikkim recorded 6,428 cases out of 86,548 samples screened and a positivity rate of was 7.4% in the first wave while in the second wave so far, 16,364 cases have been detected from the 89,105 samples screened giving a positivity rate so far of 18.37%.

While 136 COVID deaths were recorded in the first wave, the second wave has claimed 181 lives so far.

That said, the fatality rate was lower this time.

Dr Bhutia pointed out that while the case fatality rate was 2.12% in the second wave, it works out to 1.11% for the second wave.

He further detailed that while 112 [82%] of the Covid deaths in the first wave were with co-morbidities, in the second wave 51% of the deaths were of patients with co-morbidities.

While giving details of infections among 18 to 44 year olds, he informed that in the first wave, 4,181 new cases [65%] were in this age-group and in the second wave, they make up 64% of the infections.

As for infections among those below 18 years of age, the age-group not yet cleared for vaccination, Dr Bhutia informed there were only 469 [7.3%] infections in the age bracket in the first wave and that in the second wave 2,742 under-18 year olds have tested positive [16.76%]. While in the first wave, there were two Covid deaths in the age-group, the second wave has thus far claimed the lives of three under 18 year olds. As for hospitalization, he informed that 48 children were admitted in the first wave and only 11 have been admitted so far in the second wave.

On the recent allegation of SDF spokesperson on Health Department on misguiding the Governor, he explained the case fatality rate was 1.03% and the positivity rate was 11.8% in June 2021 and 7998 samples were tested from 01 to 09 July and 1421 were found positive for COVID and the positivity rate comes to 17.7% and case Fatality rate stands at 0.35%. On the same, he mentioned that these figures were submitted to the Governor during the meeting on 10 July.

On COVID-19 vaccination, he informed that 85% of the healthcare workers have received at least the first dose while 75% were fully vaccinated. 74% of the frontline workers have received at least the first dose and 60% have taken both the shots.

He added that 92% of the above 45 year olds have received at least the first dose and 58% have covered their schedule. In the 18-45 age-group, 89% have already received their first dose.

As for worries over the Delta-Plus variant of the virus, he shared that while this variant was a concern, no cases have been detected in the State thus far.