The Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University and Health Sciences (BFUHS) and the professional advisor for Punjab’s COVID-19 management programme, Dr Raj Bahadur Singh, tells The Indian Express that while not enough tests are being done right now, rapid testing will address that problem.
What guidelines should be followed by doctors before examining every patient?
At times, a fever patient turns out to be positive after 4-5 days and hence exposes many before that. Suspected patient should be taken at the flu corner and health worker should take history of the suspect with regard to travel and the patient should be shifted to isolation ward along with a helper of hospital and a security personnel wearing safety kits as per guidelines.
Suspected patients should be immediately referred to the flu corners by doctors. In addition to this, even patients too should directly approach the flu corners, rather than roaming in the city to meet different doctors and hence exposing themselves to others.
What is the rapid test? Who all should be tested using it?
Rapid test is a viral antigen test where 2 ml of blood is put on a special strip. If the colour of the strip changes to light brown, the test is positive. This test is done in 15 minutes. At this juncture, as per Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), rapid test should be done in hotspots to find out more persons quickly rather than waiting for the 40-hour test. However, if a person tests positive in rapid test, he/she needs to be quarantined immediately and another test needs to be performed on them as every rapid test positive patient may not be COVID-19 positive. Sometimes, slight traces of infection tests you positive in rapid test, if second test ( which takes 40 hours) also tests positive, patient needs tertiary care treatment . Otherwise, the patient can be home quarantined.
Is enough testing being done as of now?
No, enough testing is not being done as of now. Hence we have proposed rapid testing in the hotspots.
Are the medical colleges of Punjab equipped enough to tackle COVID-19?
Yes, all the medical colleges are equipped. The COVID management wards are well equipped with staff as well as required N-95 masks, PPE kits. For example in Faridkot medical college, only one positive patient has came on Friday itself, hence if staff is not able to handle even one patient, I will feel surprised. Our medical colleges in Faridkot, Amritsar, Patiala are have adequate facilities as per the patient strength in these hospitals.
But staff of medical colleges in Patiala as well as Amritsar had protested in the recent past against lack of safety kits, facilities for them. What do you have to say for them?
At this time work pressure is more, but we are giving them adequate facilities. Already we have ordered 1 lakh kits from ICMR. I want to give a message to all paramedical, nursing staff and even doctors of our medical colleges that they should consider themselves as soldiers. They are the ones who have to lead from front. At this time, we need to put patients in the comfort zone. Looking at the number of positive and suspected patients in medical colleges and civil hospitals, adequate staff is there. The war is in their hands and I am sure, they will win it.
Patients feel scared of going in isolation wards. What is being done about that?
We are going to play Gurbani as background light music to add positivity in the minds of patients, who at times get scared. However, patients are recovering and going home. Hence, they need not to feel scared.
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