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9 months on, Covid warriors fight toughest battle in HP

December 12, 2020 05:59 AM


9 months on, Covid warriors fight toughest battle in HP
Himachal has seen a spike in cases since November and has one of the highest positivity rates in the country at 8.9%

Medical superintendent Dr Janak Raj reviewing a patient chart in a hospital ward in Shimla on Friday. HT PHOTO
Gaurav Bisht

SHIMLA : Nine months since the Covid-19 outbreak, health workers are fighting their toughest battle against coronavirus in Himachal Pradesh that has one the highest positivity rates at 8.9% as against the national average of 3.7%. So far, four healthcare workers have died and more than 1,000 have tested positive for Covid-19 in the state.

The state has seen 24,984 Covid-19 cases since November that is more than the combined tally between March and October with the three districts of Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti and Mandi reporting a positivity rate of above 13%, while Shimla has a positivity rate of 12.5% and Solan 9.4%. A total of 757 people died of the contagion in the state with the death rate of 1.6%. Shimla accounts for 195 of the deaths, Kangra 150 and Mandi 98.

State has reported over 47,000 positive cases

In the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital alone, 252 health workers have tested positive. The hospital has treated more than 1,200 Covid patients so far, while 200 of them who were admitted in a critical condition have died of the infection.

Till December 11, the state recorded 47,877 Covid-19 infections. There are 7,384 active cases and 39,681 people have recovered. The recovery rate has increased to 82%.

“This is a harrowing time for us but then it’s our duty to save lives,” says Dr Lakshita, an intern who goes by one name. “We see two to three Covid deaths daily in the isolation ward. My mother, who is a teacher, was worried when I was quarantined but later reconciled to the situation,” says the young doctor, who tested positive last month and is now back to work with a renewed resolve at IGMC.

Naresh Khaslaik, 37, a class four employee at the hospital, also contracted the infection during the course of work. He was deputed to carry blood samples of infected patients and is now undergoing treatment in the hospital’s Covid block. “I may have caught it while carrying samples from the ward to the laboratory for testing. I was wearing gloves and a mask but don’t have a PPE (personal protective equipment) kit,” he says.

His immediate concern is the well-being of his family. “I have no symptoms but am worried about my wife, son and daughter,” he says. His wife is an anganwadi worker. “I’ll return to work as soon as I’m out of quarantine. I’m a Covid warrior and the war is still on,” Khaslaik says

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