GUWAHATI, May 31 - Asserting that the State government is confident despite the spike in number of COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said Assam has crossed a �crucial phase� from March till May and given the capacity acquired by the health department during the period, �June should not be that tough�.
Addressing the media here, the minister insisted that �even though there is a spike and we are going towards unlocking the lockdown in a phased manner, we are not nervous. As long as the quarantine system is robust, there is no cause of worry.�
Sarma said with the ramping up of testing facilities, the health department hopes to reduce the institutional quarantine period to four days soon. �With the operationalisation of three more labs in a few days, we will be able to conduct 10,000 tests per day. We will then be able to give the results within 72 hours, and on the fourth day, we can release the patient from institutional quarantine if he is negative for the virus,� he said, adding that it would save public money.
Starting with two bio-safety cabinets and one RT-PCR machine in March, the State today achieved the milestone of one lakh COVID-19 tests, convincingly surpassing states like Kerala. By June 15, Assam plans to cross the two-lakh mark. Returnees released from institutional quarantine in four days will have to undergo ten days of home quarantine. Around 2.5 lakh people have returned to the State so far, and the government is expecting another one lakh to come by June 15. �To ensure an effective home quarantine, we have activated village committees,� he said.
The State health department has also unveiled a three-tier system of COVID-19 treatment. The symptomatic patients will be treated at medical colleges while the vulnerable patients will be admitted at district hospitals.
Fifty model hospitals have been activated to treat symptomatic patients. The model hospitals are 50-bedded.
The minister said the State now has a capacity to treat 4,232 patients at a time. �Moreover, we are also releasing an SOP detailing how flood and Covid management can go together. We must ensure that the flood relief camps are safe,� he said.
Sarma said the first phase of community surveillance programme (CSP) has scanned 29,771 villages, and no COVID-19 case has been detected, indicating that the virus has not spread to the community. Around 26,000 people were found to have fever and 6,000 had influenza-like illness. The second round of CSP will begin on June 7 with a different set of medical personnel.