By Our Special correspondent

CLEARLY, it’s a case of better late than never in Goa’s Covid-19 pandemic management. Speaking to media people at a non-virtual conference held on Aug 24, 2020, Health Minister Vishwajit Rane detailed Covid-19 treatment in place for patients. The GMC has now taken over the responsibility of treating the serious patients (with co-morbidities of heart disease, cancer, kidney dialysis, etc) and the critical cases of Margao-based ESI Hospital will also be shifted to the GMC.
The situation is being monitored closely while another only for Covid-19 patients hospital is opening in Ponda (which is seeing considerable growth of cases), as also a third center at the old Hospicio hospital. Home Isolation is now going to play a big role to ease the burden on a stressed out Covid-19 health scenario with a voluntary IMA doctors panel and Directorate of Health Services team taking care of patients who are asymptomatic (as many as 95% test asymptomatic but the danger is that they spread the infection totally unaware of it).
Very often it’s those who test asymptomatic who refuse to be shifted to Covid-19 centers for containment; in such cases now a Home Isolation treatment protocol is in place which will be more comfortable. If any patient slips into more severe symptoms they will be shifted to the nearest Covid-19 but this will be decided by doctor and authorities in charge of Home Isolation patients.
Echoing Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Health Minister Rane too reassured that there’s nothing to be scared about but everyone has a lot of thinking to do, sentiments endorsed by the team present at the briefing comprising Health Secretary Neela Mohanan, Health Services Director Dr Jose D’Sa and others. The Health Minister also warned the stigmatizing of patients and said if anyone complained strict action will be taken. He also appealed to Goans to go easy with celebrations, especially Chovoth. Ganesh Chaturthi need not be celebrated with the usual mass gathering of people but by way of a small celebration, keeping in mind that seniors in the family are more vulnerable to the pandemic scale infection.
In the meantime the recently introduced plasma banks at the Goa Medical College & Hospital (GMC) is doing well working with plasma therapy for critical patients (more than 41 patients treated so far), the therapy is contributing towards the recovery of many a critical patient. Equipment too has been purchased to upgrade treatment, namely a CT scan machine, echocardiogram machine, HFNO machines (15 each for both hospitals), mobile x ray unit, mobile dialysis units, ultrasound machine, Abbot autoanalyzer for biochemistry, hematology cell-count machine. The high-end equipment will be replicated in both dedicated Covid-19 hospitals at ESI Margao and Sub-district hospital at Ponda.
From the sound of it the next two months are going to be critical on the Covid-19 front because the virus behaves differently with different patients or so is the growing conclusion amongst doctors and those dealing with the contagion. The up-to-date status of Covid-19 is an escalation with 470 cases spike on Friday, August 14, 2020; active cases add up to more than 3,491 and death toll stands at 91 so far. In Panaji there are 142 active cases with 22 cases emerging daily. Reportedly, testing goes on furiously to segregate mild, moderate and severe cases, and despite the long wait complaints about results taking too long. So fear-mongering is not just fear-mongering, Goans need to stay on the straight and narrow path of wearing masks while out in company in public, take other precautions, boost their immunity and in general be conscious and conscientious about the pandemic which is making Goa’s happy-go-lucky holiday status take a beating.

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