No face mask, no entry in JDWNRH as COVID cases go up

Doctors to see patients even after 3 pm

With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the large number of patients coming to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) there is concern.

This is because JDWNRH is the apex hospital in the country, receiving a large number of referred patients every day from the high-risk areas including patients from outside Thimphu as well.

Forensic Medical Specialist and the Officiating Medical Superintendent of JDWNRH, Dr Norbu, said the safety protocols in the hospital have been in place, but as per their observation, people are slacking off in terms of COVID-19 safety protocols. There are Desuups for crowd control with some deployed in the critical areas, but now there is a little shortage of Desuups.

Dr Norbu said, the hospital is stressing more on face masks and if any person is coming to the hospital without face masks, the security in the hospital will not allow the person to enter the hospital. Some people cover their mouth with some handkerchiefs or scarfs instead of face mask. So therefore, people entering in the hospital are requested to visit hospital with a proper face mask.

Dr Norbu said, JDWNRH has stopped checking body temperature and hand sanitizing before entering in the hospital because 90 percent of the population are fully vaccinated. However, with the emergence of COVID-19 positive cases in the country, the hospital will follow all the safety protocols.

In the case of the medical ward, Dr Norbu said people are allowed to bring in home cooked food and a maximum of two attendants are allowed per patient if in case the patient is serious otherwise, it is still one patient one attendant rule.

The hospital has also stopped doing COVID-19 tests for patients referred from high-risk regions. However, if any patients have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, breathing difficulties and so on, then they will do COVID-19 test accordingly.

To ease the crowds and reduce patient waiting time, they initiated appointment system, but there has been no change at all. The crowds in the hospital could be patients’ choice or could be because the patients are waiting for the lab test results, said Dr Norbu.

The token system starts from morning 9 am to 1 pm and it is in a first come first basis and after 1 pm, those patients who have booked an appointment, can come. Dr Norbu said they have not totally switched to the appointment system otherwise emergency cases will be missed.

Dr Norbu said, just recently, all the medical doctors in the Out-Patient Department (OPD) asked not to send back patients without check-up if there are any patients waiting in queue even after 3 pm. The hospital management has requested all the doctors in the OPD to adjust and look after the patients after 3 pm. Earlier there were many issues where patients were waiting for the entire day and by the time their turn comes, the time is already over whereby they are not able to see the doctors and, had to return.

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