Double mutant strain highly infectious; stay home to curtail spread of COVID: Expert

Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May 2021 (21:30 IST)
Srinagar: Asserting that the of is highly infectious, Government Medical College (GMC) Head of Department, Community Medicine, Dr Mohammad Salim Khan on Thursday appealed to the people to stay indoors and strictly adhere to the guidelines to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Dr Salim, who is one of the leading preventive medicine experts of J&K, said that at present more than 4 lakh cases are being reported across the country on a daily basis and 3500 cases in Kashmir, which is not a good trend.
“The stats give a notion that cases are increasing each passing day and the only solution to break the COVID chain is to strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and guidelines and venture out only in case of necessity,” he said.
In comparison to last year, he said more COVID positive cases are being reported this year and the number of severe cases are also increasing manifold due to which the patient rush has increased at the hospitals.
Reminiscing Covid situation last year, Dr Salim said there happened to be one case in a family, but today if there is a single case detected in a family the whole family is found to get infected with the virus. “Now particularly the cases of children contracting the virus are being reported frequently,” he said, cautioning that the double mutant strain can infect even those who have already got Coronavirus infection last year.
“With second wave going on and the number of cases increasing each passing day, we cannot predict its peak nor can we predict when shall the number of cases decrease, the only thing we know this time is that the number of cases may increase manifold in coming days which may also lead to increase in mortality rate,” he said
He said to combat such a situation, the Government has already notified the related SOPs, guidelines and people need to adopt the appropriate behaviour.
He said last year, people cooperated with the government vis-?-vis implementation of lockdown, adopting of COVID appropriate behavior. However, he said this time there has been relatively less cooperation from people initially and still there are so many persons who are not taking the situation seriously.
He said that the mutant strain is infecting whole families and even children are getting affected, adding N440K has been found in Kashmir division which spreads ten times faster.
Dr Salim said that both vaccines available in India, Covishield and Covaxin are safe and rumours about side effects like vaccine causing infertility among women are false.
He said that vaccines provide protection to a large extent and people need to take both doses as per the prescribed timelines. He said that Covaxin also has good efficacy of 81 per cent. “Even after getting vaccinated, people don’t have to lower the guard and should continue to take precautions like wearing of masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene,” he said.
During the current scenario, he said the people that are reported COVID positive and have mild symptoms, it has been found that many of such cases even after severity stay home and report to the hospital late for treatment, which sometimes results in death of such patients.
The HoD Community Medicine said in such a situation COVID positive patients who are in home isolation need to check their saturation level after every 2 to 3 hours. “If they feel that their saturation level has dipped below 90 they should immediately consult a nearby health centre so that the medical staff available there can make their referral to the hospital after examination” Dr Salim said.
He added that, “this is important because in many of the COVID positive cases, patients develop no symptoms and they hardly feel a dip in saturation level and this is called happy hypoxia”.
Stressing on to desist from visiting hospitals at early stage of detection of Covid, he said since the number of cases are increasing each passing day it is not necessary that every positive patient needs to come to the hospital and only those patients need to come to the hospital whose severity has increased and their saturation level has dipped.
“The patients who have tested COVID positive should avail treatment facilities by consultation through helplines publicised by the government,” he said, adding that they can share their health status with the doctor via phone or through video conferencing and take medication accordingly.
Meanwhile, the Government has set up Triage centres at National Institute of Technology Hazratbal and SKIMS-JVC Bemina for screening of COVID positive patients intending to get admitted in SKIMS Soura, SMHS or CD hospital. COVID positive cases have been advised not to report to these hospitals directly without first going to Triage facility for screening.
For positive cases outside Srinagar and other districts, the concerned District hospital and new medical colleges GMC Baramulla & GMC Annatnag shall be the Triage points. The Divisional administration has also notified contact numbers of its Divisional Control Room having telephone numbers 0194-2440283, 2430581, 2452052, 2457313 and 2457312 for round the clock assistance to general public. (UNI)