PESHAWAR: The government has decided to close down services, except for critically-ill and injured patients, in teaching and district headquarters hospitals to focus on Covid-19 suspected patients through establishment of triages and to ensure safety of health workers as the provincial tally reached 253 on Tuesday with 32 new cases.
The spokesperson for provincial government, Ajmal Wazir, told a news conference that 10 patients, including eight pilgrims from Iran, were sent home after recovery and roads were opened after completion of quarantine periods by 80 families in Hayatabad.
Two more laboratories were being setup in Kohat and Abbottabad to reduce burden on Khyber Medical University.
The government has decided to shut down elective services and outpatient departments at tertiary and district headquarter hospitals from April 1 to 13 to ensure social distancing and safeguard health workers from being infected with the Covid-19.
CM’s adviser says 10 patients sent home after recovery
The hospitals have been instructed to establish proper triage system outside the hospitals or at the entry points for proper triage of patients and visitors.
According to a notification, the private clinics and hospitals will also stay closed.
Local physicians said that the step was meant to enable the hospitals to lay focus on people with symptoms of Civid-19.
The triage is used in bomb blasts or accidents. “It is the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties,” said a physician.
He said that they were triaging patients in possible Covid-19 and non-Covid-19. The possible Covid-19 patients were further triaged depending on their severity of illness, he said.
The decision will not affect the emergency patients.
“Elective services, as opposed to emergency ones, can be delayed with no undue harm to the patient. Only emergency services will be available,” said a general surgeon.
He said that hernias and gall stones surgery were examples of elective procedures. During this period, hospitals would be able to strengthen their emergency services for uninterrupted patient’s care and management.
In Kurram tribal district, Deputy Commissioner Shah Fahd said that two of the 32 suspected people tested positive for the infection.
He said that they were isolated in their houses and more measures were underway to protect the people against the virus’ attack.
The patients included a 22-year-old woman from Upper Kurram who had hosted some relatives at her house from Gilgit-Baltistan and also been to a marriage ceremony about which investigations were in progress to ascertain information regarding the people, who came across her, he said.
The deputy commissioner said that another patient was 21-year-old, who had reached Peshawar from Iran from where he travelled to Kurram district via public transport.
“His family is very cooperative; therefore, he had already been quarantined. Now he has been shifted to isolation centre after testing positive,” he said.
According to him, five isolation and six quarantine centres have been established in the district to cope with the situation. “We have identified 18 places to set up more quarantine centers,” he added.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2020