With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases coming in, and the new variant which affects the lungs of the patient requiring constant supply of oxygen, the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hopsital (JDWNRH) has already looked into the matter and made sure the hospital will not run out of oxygen supply, if any patient requires it.
JDWNRH procures oxygen every two to three days from the two oxygen plants in Pasakha and Gelephu.
The Medical Superintendent, Dr Gosar Pemba, said JDWNRH has 1,200 oxygen cylinders and 500 more are kept aside as a reserve. He said there is no problem with the supply of oxygen filled cylinders unless the factories encounter problems in producing oxygen. The hospital is using a D-type oxygen cylinder which holds approximately 340 litres of oxygen.
Dr Gosar said every individual must follow the COVID-19 safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If the safety protocols are breached then even a 1,500 bedded hospital will not be able to cope with the overflow of COVID-19 patients.
Considering Bhutan’s population and people scattered all over, Dr Gosar said the country will never reach to such a situation where the hospitals cannot manage to treat the patients. However, he said, every individual must take the responsibility to stand guard against COVID-19.
He said the recent COVID-19 patients reported in the country are all doing well, with mild symptoms and some are asymptomatic. He said some of the anxious patients required oxygen, but none of them required the ventilator, which is a good sign. There is no patient with severe lung infection recorded so far, which could means that the new variant has not entered Bhutan yet. Most of the patients in the hospital are foreign workers.
Meanwhile, all the patients from the southern districts referred to JDWNRH are tested with RT-PCR before leaving to the capital and tested again in the hospital with RT-PCR. The hospital also has the Genexpert where the report can be out within 15 to 20 minutes. The number of self-referred cases has reduced and the referral cases have more or less remained the same since the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the health staff are tested twice in a week with antigen, and the hospital does not allow visitors inside as part of its COVID-19 safety protocol.