GUWAHATI: The city-based Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) has taken proactive steps to face the second wave of COVID-19 even as six of the institute's Health workers have been infected by the virus.
The BBCI has re-started thermal screening of all patients and visitors entering the hospital building, including hand sanitization. For patients needing admission, endoscopies, and surgery, the institute has started testing for coronavirus in the institute's dedicated virology laboratory. The laboratory was set up by the National Health Mission and Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Assam in 2020.
A dedicated COVID ward has been also started at BBCI to admit patients who test COVID-19 positive. Wearing face masks while entering the institute is now mandatory, and multiple mask depots are stationed in various places of the institute for patients or attendants who do not bring their own mask. Also, measures such as sweeping of floors are being replaced by cleaning with soap based water to prevent dust aerosols.
Director of BBCI, Dr Amal Chandra Kataki said, "We have garnered enough experience from last year's first wave. Around 120 Healthcare workers including doctors of the institute were infected last year; and, we successfully treated 90 cancer patients infected with COVID-19 in our dedicated COVID ward. Of them, nine patients succumbed due to cancer and not due to COVID-19. Two cancer patients were shifted to the ICU of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital for further management of COVID-19. So far, in the second wave, six healthcare workers are now infected. Of these infected staff, three were not vaccinated, while two others were vaccinated; their infection is very mild though. Of the 120 infections last year, one of our Healthcare workers has been re-infected this time."
The Director added, Thanks to the Tata Memorial Center, Mumbai, BBCI has received a few oxygen concentrators from the United States. There should not be any shortage of oxygen at BBCI for the COVID-19 patients requiring cancer care in the near future. Irrespective of previous infection status for Coronavirus, a person should still get vaccinated, added Dr Kataki.