Testing and contact tracing going on for Phuentsholing

Bhutan has 224 COVID-19 cases as of Monday  and with 84 active cases and 140 having recovered.

After the detection of the first case in Phuentsholing on 12th August, which is the index case for the MDP, the ministry had instituted an aggressive contact tracing and through which the ministry had contact traced and isolated 41 confirmed positive cases around MDP recognizing the need to reassess the risks of Phuentsholing.

The ministry has also started doing community wide surveillance from the 15th of August till 24th of August during which more than 25,000 samples are collected. Of the total, 62 individuals have been tested positive from the community.

The health minister said they were worried about whether the infections has gone to other parts of the country.

Looking at the contact tracing data, the ministry found that majority of the primary contacts were almost all in the 12 districts but fortunately none of these districts except for Paro has reported any positive cases. One contact from Thimphu also tested positive in quarantine.

The moment Paro dzongkhag reported three positive cases, the ministry immediately started surveillance within that catchment area of Paro or the cluster. The surveillance started from the 20th of August till the 22nd of August during which almost around 2000 people were tested and all of them were tested negative.

The ministry also started registering people who left Phuentsholing on 1st of August and Thimphu had the majority of people, as almost 5000 people who had travelled during this period.  The ministry has tested all of them and as of now there has been no positive case and similarly in all 12 districts the  ministry has have contact traced everybody who has left Phuentsholing on 1st of August and none of them have tested positive so far.

The Health Minister requested the public that if they have signs and symptoms like fever, chills, diarrhea, loss of smell, she requested everybody to come to the flu clinic and get tested. This is the way of picking up positive cases especially during lockdown. Flu clinics are still open, hospitals are all open health centers are all open even during lockdown.

Lyonpo informed the people that as per the standard operating procedure or the guideline of ministry of health, once the country has community transmission and in order to lessen the burden on the health system and health worker, the patient will be admitted only that requires hospitalization. If they don’t then they are kept in isolation facility and they monitor them. Within 14 to 21 days they should recover from the virus.

She said the Community surveillance part is completed on 24th and now whoever comes positive, they will run another round of sampling for them because then they need to contact trace the contact of all these positive people and then within one or two days, they are going to test them again.

The ministry is also doing a mopping surveillance in Phuentsholing which is basically for people the MoH have missed.

With the rise of community cases in Phuentsholing the entire Chukha Dzongkhag will also undergo testing.

With the large number of DANTAK related and other cases coming from Phuentsholing the MoH will have to do  additional testing due to contact tracing.

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