Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday revealed that at least 70 per cent of doctors and nurses in hospitals are getting infected with the novel coronavirus from patients and attendants in emergency wings and outpatient departments. Only 30 per cent of doctors and health workers are getting infected from the Covid wards. In Assam, an estimated 1,500 health workers have been infected by the virus. This "trend" of infection, Mr Sarma said, has created a "huge concern".
"It can be a very interesting case study. We have found that the number of infection among those involved in Covid duties are far lower. Hardly 150 of the medical staff have got infected by Covid. But our problem is on the other front. If there is an accident case coming in or the patient has come with a heart attack, our doctor has to attend. So the main infections are coming from such instances and we don't really know how to resolve it. You simply cannot test everyone prior to treatment, particularly in case of emergencies. Their guardians and attendants come near the doctors. Our ratio is that 30 per cent of infections are from Covid duties, rest 70 per cent is from non-Covid duties," Mr Sarma told NDTV.
1,143 health workers in Assam have tested positive for coronavirus till the first week of August, as per official data available with NDTV.
This included 298 doctors, 162 nurses, 92 lab technicians and 125 cleaners. The tests are other staffs. Many doctors, nurses, health workers were admitted in the ICU and were critical.
"The only SOP can be that everyone should wear a PPE kit but that is not practical in case of an emergency situation. When you have a road mishap patient coming, how will a doctor function under stringent Covid SOP? In his mind, it will be all about attending to the patient. Doctors and nurses are taking a great risk, they are doing wonders," Mr Sarma said.
Assam's coronavirus positivity rate has shot up to 5.7 per cent. On Tuesday, Assam reported 2,534 COVID-19 fresh cases with Guwahati and its nearby areas reporting 498 cases. Assam has logged 82,201 cases so far. Of these, 25,261 cases are active. 56,734 people have recovered in the state while 203 people have died so far.