There are 15 COVID-19 patients left in the isolation ward of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH). They are in a stable condition with two doctors and three nurses looking after them round the clock.
Until Monday or 18th May there were 15 cases in the wards but three people in the form of one male and two females tested negative on the same day, and were moved to de-isolation bringing the number to 12. This was followed on Friday with three more testing negative bringing the total number down to nine.
The nine will be joined by the 2 new positive cases on Friday, 1 case on Saturday and 3 cases on Monday all from the middle east taking the final total to 15 cases in the isolation ward.
Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Gosar Pemba, said patients should have two negative results consecutively within 24 hours which was the case in the six cases who tested negative so far.
As per the testing protocol, a patient that tests negative after seven days is sent back to the quarantine facility.
The 15 COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic except for one patient who has shown symptoms, like not being able to smell or taste. The patient is being treated, he said.
If the COVID-19 cases increase to more than 100 then JDWNRH has identified other infrastructure for admission of COVID-19 patients, such as the school in Changzamtog.
The isolation ward which was previously the eye hospital has the capacity to admit 29 patients including serious cases requiring ventilators and other life saving equipment. So far there has been no serious cases admitted except for the first COVID-19 case involving the 76-year-old American tourist.
The other designated areas to admit COVID-19 patients are the old Community Health Department (CHD), old Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan (KGUMSB), Royal Institute of Health Sciences (RIHS). The old OPD physiotherapy ward has the capacity to take in 10 patients if need be.
The COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms and the ones who are asymptomatic are to be admitted in the other identified buildings in JDWNRH.
Dr Gosar said, “Once the COVID-19 patient becomes serious, the patient is going to take a long time to recover. So asymptomatic patients and serious patients will not be kept in the same building.”
JDWNRH has divided its health staff into six teams to look after COVID-19 patients. Currently, Team Five is looking after the 11 patients in the isolation ward and Team Four is taking care of those in the quarantine facilities.
According to JDWNRH, the hospital has enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) even though 17 PPE sets are used in a day. The hospital has around 2,300 face shields, 4,550 facemasks (N95), 3,125 small and 1,740 medium overall gowns.
Meanwhile, the number of people visiting the hospital remains the same. There is less worry among the people, as they see no danger in visiting the hospital as the COVID-19 patients are kept in a separate area and not in the main hospital. DeSuups are helping to monitor and manage the crowd in the hospital.