24th CTA COVID-19 Task Force Briefing: 113 cases this week and 1 death

At the 24th task force briefing, Dr Tsamchoe shares the pandemic status and the Health department’s initiatives and relevant guidances. Screengrab image

Dharamshala: At the routine task force briefing, Dr Tsamchoe, Dr Tsundue, and Disease Prevention Programme Coordinator Sonam from the Department of Health updated the pandemic status, reviewed measures undertaken by the CTA, and shared relevant guidance for public awareness.

Disease Prevention Programme Coordinator Sonam briefed on the necessity of COVID-19 testing and shared a few important guidances.

He emphasised that getting tested is important as it will determine COVID-infection and ensure timely treatment and the possibility of a speedy recovery, furthermore it aids contract tracing, imposing quarantine and further testing.

Since the beginning of May, 315 Tibetans in total from Dharamsala have been tested through the provisions of the local government hospitals based here. More than 180 vulnerable groups from emergency volunteers, sanitation workers and drivers, nurses, etc were tested. McLeod residents Dr Thinlay Jampa and Pintu Sharma have taken the lead in the testing initiative and procuring aid. Delek hospital underwent the necessary training provided by the state’s CMO to conduct the COVID tests which the hospital has been overseeing since July, testing 220 people.

Another important guidance relating to the pandemic is that people are ignoring precautionary measures, however, with the critical situation in India seeing the daily death toll of 1000 and the steep per day rise.

As no vaccination is available yet, it is important for the public to practice precautionary measures and follow the guidelines issued by the authority.

Special attention must be given to the hygiene, diet and overall precaution of children, the elderly, pregnant women and the chronically ill.

The 2 main ways of precaution are wearing clean masks while travelling and at gatherings and washing hands frequently.

For people travelling to red zones, he urged following the mandatory 14 days of quarantine and inform the local healthcare workers if one is confirmed positive.

To people struggling emotionally or dealing with drug addiction, he urged them to contact the Health department through the local settlement officer and the director of the branch hospital and shared the Health department’s website: tibetanhealth.org for more information.

He acknowledged the dedication of the frontline workers, healthcare workers, volunteers, settlement officers and urged them to continue their efforts until the situation comes under control.

Dr Tsamchoe updated the weekly quarantine status and initiatives taken by the committee in the Tibetan settlements.

As of now, 669 people are in the quarantine out of which 283 are at home quarantine and 386 at the CTA facilitated quarantine centre and 40 are in quarantine in Dharamsala.

In Gangkyi region around 2585 have been screened and 7292 people from the Tibetan settlements in India and Nepal have been screened and tested.

As for the preventive measures, routine sanitisation and disinfection of the settlement are being carried.

Besides, the mental health counselling helpline has tended over 290 people dealing with a mental and emotional crisis.

As for the pandemic status of the exile Tibetan community for this week: a 113 Tibetans reported positive: 4 from Bylakuppe, 1 from Bangalore, 31 from Mundgod, 60 from Ladakh, 3 from Bandara, 1 from Tsopema in Mandi, 11 from Gangtok, and 2 from Delhi. Of the 4 positive in Bylakuppe, those who are asymptomatic are observing home quarantine and receiving provisions of the Health Department at the COVID-care facility. The 1 positive in Bangalore is a 33-year-old male, who has minor symptoms is following home quarantine. Of the 31 in Mundgod, mainly concerns 2 females and 1 male who are receiving provisions of SORIG boosters at the CTA COVID-Care centre and monastery’s quarantine facility. In Ladakh, the recent outbreak at the Old age home and people who came into their contact and other residents are being treated at the TCV Ladakh and COVID-care centre with SORIG provisions. Of the 3 in Bandara, 2 are asymptomatic and are residing in the community quarantine centre while 1 is being treated at the district’s COVID-centre. The 1 positive in Tsopema was discovered with a travel history and is receiving treatment at the district COVID-care centre. The 11 in Gangtok are of 2 families, who contracted the virus through vegetable vendors and they are currently in-home quarantine. In Delhi, the 2 positive who are from Majnu-ka-Tila are in-home quarantine receiving SORIG boosters. Of the 113, 1 has been reported to be critically ill and admitted in the ICU while 8 have shown mild symptoms and the rest have no visible symptoms. In some sad news, an 83-year-old female from Mundgod passed away who had heart disease.

The total case now stands at 260 in both India and Nepal. The total case of death is 6 and 102 recoveries with 152 active cases.

Dr Tsamchoe shared that all the COVID-positive individuals are receiving care from both Western and Tibetan systems of medicine and the Health Department is in contact with them and providing tele-counselling services through the Mental Health section. 

Globally, 27 million are infected with the virus and 8 lakhs have died due to it. In India, 44 lakhs are infected with 75,000 deaths and 34,000 recoveries with 77% recovery rate. At present, active cases stand at 9.19 lakhs, and 95,735 new cases were reported yesterday.

In India, the government has so far tested 5 million and tested 11 lakhs in the past 24 hours. Similarly, the Tibetan administration is striving to test as widely as possible which has resulted in the discovery of more cases.

Dr Tsamchoe clarified that the lack of symptoms does not mean the test results are not credible and therefore urged to responsibly inform the authorities and check into quarantine. 

Amidst the urgent pandemic situation, she highlighted the importance of extending aid to the welfare of the community through any way one can and turn the difficult circumstances into an opportunity for the better.

She urged people to act responsibly if one detects COVID-symptoms by isolating immediately and getting tested.

She also advised vulnerable groups such as those with chronic illness, obese people and elderly to be more cautious and recommended reciting Dolma prayers to reduce stress.

Dr Tsundue shared that as cases continue to rapidly rise in the country, hospitals are directing those without visible symptoms for home quarantine as observed in Delhi, Ladakh, Karnataka. Similarly, in Himachal Pradesh, the state has issued new guidelines stating the same. He noted that with Tibetan settlements situated in these high-risk regions, people must not go out unnecessarily. With regards to contact tracing, one must be transparent with the authorities and aid their purpose as a responsible individual, he urged.

He appealed people to not visit Old age homes for the safety of the residents.

Last week, Delek hospital tested 16 people at the Reception centre whose results returned negative with the rest expected to get tested tomorrow.

He then highlighted the main precautions to follow: 1) returnees to follow 14 days quarantine and then home quarantine,  2) 2-metre physical distance and avoiding gathering, 3) wearing facemasks, 4) washing hands frequently, and 5) not going outside unnecessarily.

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Dr Tsundue shared some guidance from the Western medical system and relevant concerns. Screengrab image
Disease Prevention Programme Coordinator Sonam from the Department of Health made public appeals and issued some guidance. Screengrab image