With more positive cases detected from the community, Ministry of Health (MoH) has deployed medical specialists, nurses, lab technicians along with 2 executives in all the affected districts. Furthermore, 4,000 health staff and 656 trained DeSuup Plus personnel are assigned as back up teams to support by the National Surveillance Team from Thimphu for contact tracing, and additional reinforcement has been sent from Thimphu.
An official from MoH said as health care workers and frontline workers are exposed to the positive cases, therefore, a major emphasis is made on training and orienting all the healthcare workers and frontline workers on preventive measures, such as the proper use of personal protective equipment and other infection control measures.
She said the newly deployed health workers and frontliners are continuously oriented on the COVID-19 containment works on personal protection and infection control. In addition, MoH has formed inspection teams in different districts to ensure that all health workers abide by the preventive and infection control measures, at all times, through periodic inspections and site visits.
Apart from the preventive measures, all the health workers, especially those who are in the field for testing and tracing, despite the risk of contracting the virus, work day and night to keep the people safe.
The MoH official shared that the greatest motivating factor in Bhutan’s response to the pandemic has been the selfless Monarch who has been tirelessly traveling across the country, to all the high risk areas, and ensuring that all required resources are available to effectively respond to the pandemic.
She shared that His Majesty is in Wangduephodrang, in the red zone, to oversee COVID-19 response works. Therefore, all the health workers engaged in the COVID-19 works, both at the passive and active fronts, are truly motivated and inspired by His Majesty’s sacrifices on a daily basis.
In addition to the inspiration from the highest level, and also based on the instructions from His Majesty to take utmost care of the wellbeing and safety of health workers deployed for COVID-19 duties, the respective district COVID-19 task forces have made necessary containment and food arrangements for the health workers, so that they get the required amount of rest and nourishment after working for long and odd hours.
In cases where the district task force cannot provide the required support, the National COVID-19 Taskforce and the relevant agencies make the necessary arrangements, she added.
Bhutan has conducted thousands of tests, but then having just 6 PCR testing centers including RCDC has been quite challenging, especially when the cases are surging from several communities. The samples are shipped to the testing centers from the different places at different timings, but mechanisms are put in place to cope up with such a situation. So far, every PCR testing lab has been able to deliver the test results within 24 hours, and they have been functioning at the optimum capacity, she said.
MoH is also under pressure due to a huge number of positive cases from the community in Sarpang. More than 1,000 tests are conducted every day since the day positive cases detected from the community.
The students who have tested COVID-19 positive are isolated, as per the existing isolation protocol. All of them are fully vaccinated, and most of them are asymptomatic while some have mild symptoms. The rest of the COVID-19 patients in the country are in stable condition with mild symptoms and are symptomatic.
A 34-year-old female COVID-19 positive patient who was also a chronic kidney patient on dialysis passed away recently , making it the fourth death from COVID-19 in Bhutan.
Meanwhile, a team from MoH is in constant touch with the RCDC, and district health officials in order to ensure that the required amount of test kits and PPEs are procured in a timely manner, and also a resource mobilization and assurance team works at MOH to ensure that the right amount of funds are available to make the procurements in a timely and uninterrupted manner.