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Amid the surge in Covid-19 cases in the State, Odisha government has made face masks in all health institutions mandatory. Though the Covid graph is showing a declining trend since the last two days after the number of daily infections crossed 500 on April 23, many health experts in the State have sounded caution against complacency.
All healthcare employees in various hospitals of the State including Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar, SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, FM Medical College in Balasore, Koraput District Headquarters Hospital in Jeypore were found wearing face masks on Tuesday. ‘No mask, no entry’ order has been issued for doctors, nurses, ward boys, and all other healthcare workers. Barring a few patients, all others in various hospitals were seen with their facemasks on.
Directorate of Public Health, Odisha had issued an order, directing all the health authorities and medical college, and hospitals in the State to use masks to avoid the spread of the virus.
As per the Director of the Capital Hospital, Laxmidhar Sahoo, wearing of masks has been made mandatory for hospital employees initially and later it will be made mandatory for the patients as well.
“All the hospital employees have been directed to wear masks as they are under huge risk of getting infected with the virus. Others will also get inspired to wear masks after watching the healthcare employees following the norm,” said Sahoo.
“Covid-19 has not gone anywhere. It is also not certain that it will completely vanish. Hence, we have to be careful. Everybody should follow Covid appropriate behaviours including wearing of masks,” said Arun Padhy, Chief District Medical Officer, Koraput.
Notably, after having an upward surge for the last one week, Covid-19 infection has started showing a declining trend for the last two days in the State. While the State reported 269 new cases on April 18, it reached 502 on April 23. However, the State registered a declining trend and registered 382 and 393 positive cases on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.
As per the Director of Public Health, Niranjan Mishra, Covid cases have currently hit a plateau in the State. Hence, wearing masks has been made mandatory to keep the medical workforce safe from Covid-19 infection.
“The infection is not that severe. Only less than two percent patients are getting hospitalised. If more doctors and health workers will be infected, they will have to go into isolation. The situation will act as an impediment to providing treatment to Covid infected patients. Hence, wearing masks has been made mandatory to protect the medical workforce,” said Mishra.
Health expert Niroj Mishra welcomed the move to make wearing masks for the employees of medicals compulsory.
“It’s a welcome move. We are currently in an endemic state and I don’t think there is anything to panic. As an antigenic drift of Omicron variant has mutated into a sub-variant, the number of cases will rise to some extent,” said Mishra.
As per Health Department sources, there are 3,086 active Covid-19 cases in the State currently. Only two percent of the infected patients are getting admitted to hospitals.
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- T GOURISHANKAR , RASHMIRANJAN DAS , ARACHANA SATPATHY