Currently Bhutan has six patients, two males and four females, in the isolation ward at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH). All the cases were managed by the hospital without any difficulties so far.
Medical Superintendent, Dr Gosar Pemba, said although the case number has decreased for now, but there are some people who have returned recently that might turn positive. And also there are around 300 people who have already registered from Middle East. So the number of cases is likely to increase in the country. If there is no more people coming back and if there is no case in the southern part of the country, then for some time, there will not be any cases reported in the country.
As for the health staff assigned for COVID-19 duty, Dr Gosar said they have been working on a rotational basis. JDWNRH has planned for backup medical team, trained to handle COVID-19 cases, from the district hospitals.
Dr Gosar said a few of the patients with mild case of pneumonia were put on the ventilator. But there has been no serious case reported so far. Just 2 to 3 patients out of 20 to 25 patients might have some mild symptoms. Most of the patients do not receive any treatment, other than being monitored daily, he said.
Dr Gosar also shared that the health staff are tested once they are done with their COVID-19 duty, and if they show no signs and symptoms of COVID-19 then they are tested after 14 days again. The health staff are kept only for 14 days in quarantine because of the full PPE they wear while on duty. He also said that for high-risk group, the ministry does antibody testing if they are asymptomatic carrier. So far, none of the health staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, two groups of patients have returned to Bhutan from Kolkata and Chennai recently and they are in the quarantine centers. All the elective surgeries were cancelled and every Bhutanese patient, such as those requiring a kidney transplant, referred in India have returned back. Total of 32 people including 11 patients and their attendants returned back early this month.