Covid-19 infections soaring in Province 1 as active cases cross 7,000 markJhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts have the highest caseloads, according to the records of the provincial government.
All 14 districts of Province 1 have witnessed a surge in coronavirus cases in recent days, which has overwhelmed the Covid-19 hospitals with patients.
Thursday’s Covid-19 infection rate of the province stands at 35.78 percent, the highest since the second wave’s peak in May-June.
According to the Ministry of Social Development in Province 1, a total of 1,104 people tested positive for the coronavirus disease in 24 hours on Thursday. Altogether 3,084 polymerase chain reaction tests were carried out throughout the province.
On Wednesday, out of 3,852 tests, the results of 1,180 (30.63 percent) had come back positive. The province’s infection rate on Tuesday and Monday stood at 30.36 and 28.27 percent respectively.
According to Sadananda Bhattarai, the spokesperson at the Social Development Ministry, Province 1 currently has 7,741 active cases, with Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts reporting the highest caseloads.
Jhapa currently has 2,786 active cases while Morang and Sunsari have 2,351 and 2,036 cases, respectively.
Similarly, there are 180 active cases in Dhankuta, 67 in Udayapur, 36 in Ilam, 33 in Panchthar, 25 in Bhojpur, 16 in Sankhuwasabha, 15 in Tehrathum, 7 in Taplejung, 3 in Khotang and 3 in Okhaldhunga districts.
According to Bhattarai, there are 175 infected people from outside Province 1 who are currently residing in various districts of the province.
Covid-19 hospitals in Morang, which has more than 2,000 active cases, are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients with serious symptoms.
According to Baijanath Sah, the coordinator of the Covid-19 Treatment Centre in Biratnagar, 77 patients were receiving treatment at the centre as of Thursday.
All Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU) beds were occupied. The centre has a capacity of 96 beds including 21 ICU beds with 15 ventilators and 47 HDU beds.
“The centre has been receiving 10-15 Covid-19 patients daily and almost all of them are in need of ICU care and ventilator support,” said Sah.
The situation is similar at Koshi Hospital, another Covid-19 hospital in Biratnagar. Twenty patients were being treated at the hospital’s ICU on Thursday. The hospital has 30 ICU beds with five ventilators.
Dr Chumanlal Das, the medical superintendent of Koshi Hospital, said the hospital has been receiving more than 1,000 patients at the Out-Patient Department on a daily basis since last week.
The emergency ward at the hospital is also seeing an increase in coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients, leading to overcrowding and increasing the infection risk.
“Only a few patients are wearing face masks. I fear I might contract the virus from the hospital itself,” said Roshan Ghimire, a resident of Biratnagar, who had come to the hospital to book a doctor’s appointment.
Das, the medical superintendent at the hospital, said while they were trying to manage the crowd, they cannot stop people from visiting the hospital.
“Overcrowding at the hospital has increased the Covid-19 risk,” he said.
At Nobel and Birat hospitals in Biratnagar also, the patient numbers are increasing by the day. Both hospitals have been receiving over 1,000 patients daily.
“The hospital is crowded and could turn into a breeding ground for Covid-19,” said Ujjwal Rai of Pathari, who was at Nobel Hospital for his wife’s surgery.
Dipesh Rai, administration chief of the hospital, said security personnel had been deployed to manage the crowd.
“But the flow of patients is increasing by the day. This has made crowd management difficult,” he said.
Kosh Hari Niraula, the chief district officer of Morang, said the flow of patients has increased in almost all health institutions in the district.
Covid-19 cases are increasing in the northern part of the district, mainly Urlabari, Pathari, Letang and Sundar Haraicha.
“We are holding consultations with the District Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee and other authorities concerned to decide whether to impose a lockdown in Biratnagar again,” said Niraula.