Risk of community transmission high in BaglungHealth officials have a tough time tracing contacts as Covid-19 suspects move freely in the community.
A 49-year-old woman from Jaimini Municipality-7 in Baglung reached the Bharatpur-based Chitwan Medical College last week to get treatment for a overy-related ailment. The hospital conducted Polymerase Chain Reaction tests on her and her companion before her health check up on Wednesday. The duo returned home on Friday.
As they were heading home, they received a call from the medical college saying they had tested positive for Covid-19.
The woman and her companion had returned to Pokhara on a public bus. From there, they took an autorickshaw to reach Pokhara Buspark and caught a jeep for Baglung. According to the woman, there were three other people on the jeep. It is still not clear which vehicle it was and who the people were.
This is just a case in point. There is a high risk of community transmission of coronavirus, as suspected people, even after giving swab samples for laboratory tests, walk freely in the community ignoring the possible threat of disease spread.
“The risk of community transmission of the virus is very high, as suspected people have not been staying in isolation,” said Deb Prakash Ghimire, the Covid-19 focal person at the District Health Office in Baglung.
Ghimire said he has urged Jaimini Municipality to keep the infected duo in the isolation ward of the local unit, as the one in Dhaulagiri Hospital is full of coronavirus patients.
“We have arranged for the infected to stay at the municipality’s isolation ward, as they do not show any symptoms of the virus. We will send an ambulance and take them to the district hospital if they have any health complications,” said Ghimire.
Baglung, a hill district of Gandaki Province, has a total of 661 positive cases; 200 of them are active cases, according to the District Health Office. More than 100 active cases are from the Nepal Army and Nepal Police.
The health authority has been having a tough time contact tracing, as many suspected people walk freely in the community even after giving swab samples for PCR tests.
“Some people who tested positive for the virus have been staying in home isolation. However, a few other infected people were found moving around marketplaces. The meeting of the district corona crisis management committee has recently decided to form a monitoring committee in each ward to identify new entrants and the people whose swabs were collected for lab tests,” said Suraj Gurau, chief at the District Health Office. He surmised the risk of community transmission with the influx of people returning home to celebrate Dashain and Tihar.
Baglung Bazaar, the district headquarters, is at high risk of community transmission of the virus. As many as 242 infected people are from the district headquarters with 146 active cases. Dhaulagiri Hospital and the isolation wards set up in Dhaulagiri Multiple Campus, Ratmata and Ramrekha are now crowded with coronavirus patients.
“The isolation beds in the district headquarters are all packed, as positive cases have been on a rise. We have been urging asymptomatic patients to stay in home isolation,” said Dr Shailendra Pokharel, the medical superintendent at Dhaulagiri Hospital.
A total of 225 beds are in operation in several isolation facilities across the district. Three Intensive Care Unit beds were recently set up in Dhaulagiri Hospital. But they are yet to come into operation due to a lack of necessary equipment and a shortage of human resources.
As of today, four people from Baglung have died of Covid-19. According to the District Health Office, two persons died in Pokhara while one each died in Baglung and Kathmandu in the course of treatment.