Covid-19 suspects in Sudurpaschim have to wait for more than a week to get test resultsThe provincial lab has asked the Mahakali Municipality to stop collecting swab samples for the time being amid increasing numbers of samples to be tested.
Five days ago, Mahakali Hospital had sent the swab samples of four individuals from its isolation ward to the Seti Provincial Lab in Dhangadi for Covid-19 tests. The hospital is still waiting for the results.
“We are waiting for the results to come. Only then will we be able to decide on the treatment process,” Saroj Acharya, a physician at the Mahakali Hospital, said. “The hospital cannot accommodate any more patients and there are many others waiting to get admitted. If we had the results, we could discharge those who test negative and create space for other patients.”
All of the physicians and health workers at the hospital have tested negative for the virus, and it took eight days for their results to be out.
Mahakali Hospital has so far sent swab samples of 383 individuals, of whom 312 have tested negative. The results of 71 samples are still awaited.
“We are waiting to get the results of the samples we sent a week ago,” Narad Bhatta, medical recorder at the hospital, said.
The provincial lab has asked the Mahakali Municipality to stop collecting swab samples for the time being amid increasing numbers of samples to be tested, according to Dil Bahadur Sinjali, spokesperson of the municipality. Almost all of the local unit’s quarantine facilities are full, he said.
According to the Provincial Health Directive, until Thursday, the lab has tested 5,549 samples, of which 20 have tested positive and 5,146 have registered negative. The result of the rest is yet to come.
The result has been delayed because the lab tested the samples of provincial assembly members, health workers and public service officials this week, according to Hem Raj Joshi, provincial health director. “The process has also been interrupted by power outages. We will pick up pace this week onwards.”
But the provincial lab tests only about 150 to 200 samples a day, in contrast to the thousands in quarantine centres who are awaiting to get tested for Covid-19. The lab also lacks enough human resources, Joshi said.
Over 21,000 individuals across Sudurpaschim Province have been tested with RDT kits—with 88 testing positive—but due to the questionable veracity of those apparatus, those who tested positive should undergo PCR testing as well, according to Joshi.
Meanwhile, the influx of people returning from India is continuously rising, with over 2,778 people entering Nepal via Gadda Chauki border point on Friday alone, according to the district administration office.
The administration has arranged a provision to transport the returnees to their respective districts and local units where they will be quarantined.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of July 11, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 had spread to 213 countries and infected more than 12,625,155 people with 562,769 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 822,603 with 22,144 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 243,599 confirmed cases with 5,058 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 16,719 cases with 38 deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.