There are 13 COVID-19 positive cases in Bhutan. A mother, 35, and her 18-month old child are included in the list of 13 patients, and they are all reported to be in a stable condition and are asymptomatic.
According to an official from the Ministry of Health (MoH), the mother and child who came in from India are kept in the isolation facility so that it is more convenient for the mother to breastfeed her baby. They continue to get the same medical attention and services provided to the rest of the COVID-19 patients kept in the isolation ward of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH). A patient is also kept in the COVID-19 ward in Gelephu.
So far, JDWNRH is managing the COVID-19 cases without any problem, and the health staff team looking after the patients is changed every 14 days. The new health team is deployed to look after the patients in the isolation ward so as to avoid prolonged contact with the positive cases.
Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Gosar Pemba, said the more contact with the positive cases, the more chances of getting infected. He said that the health workers in the isolation ward in Thimphu find the work more manageable than the isolation ward health staff in southern Bhutan who find it difficult to manage the COVID-19 patients in full PPE because of the hot weather.
A COVID-19 patient from the south was brought to Thimphu to be admitted to the isolation ward. It is most likely that the COVID-19 patients detected in the South will be admitted in JDWNRH’s isolation ward if the number of patient in isolation ward is less, Dr Gosar added.
JDWNRH is confident in managing the COVID-19 patients, however, if the hospital start getting 50 to 60 positive cases at time then it would require more health staff such as 20 nurses at a time. The hospital will have a severe shortage of staff in the worst-case scenario.
“But we have not reached to that point. Even the ICU in isolation ward is not used because there is no serious case. Mostly asymptomatic cases are received except for a few who had sore throat, loss of taste, diarrhea, which are manageable,” Dr Gosar Pemba said.
Dr Gosar also said that if the number of cases increases then the asymptomatic cases will be kept in isolation facility and only serious cases will be kept in the isolation ward.
Bhutan as of 4th August has 103 cases of which 90 have recovered.