Assam: Over 34,000 children under 18 infected with Covid-19 since April
Assam government asked people who test Covid positive to shift to institutional isolation centres rather than stay home since children might contract the infection
Guwahati: Health authorities in Assam disclosed on Monday that 34,606 children under 18 years of age have been infected with Covid19 since April this year when the second wave of the pandemic began in the state.
According to a release issued by National Health Mission, Assam, the state has recorded 280,504 cases of Covid19 since April 1. While 5755 of those cases were of children under 5 years, 28851 cases belonged to those between 6 to 18 years.
“In view of the circumstances, we have increased pediatric ICU units and oxygen beds for children in medical college hospitals, district hospitals. These facilities are being set up immediately and will take 14-21 days to complete,” health minister Keshab Mahanta told journalists in Nagaon on Monday.
Kamrup (Metropolitan), which includes Guwahati, recorded 5346 cases among children since April, which was 10.04% of the 53,251 cases detected in the district in that period.
Dibrugarh (2430), Nagaon (2288), Kamrup (Rural) (2023) and Sonitpur (1839) districts also had high number of cases among children. The state recorded 34 deaths of children infected with Covid19 since April. According to NHM, many of them had co-morbid conditions and were below 5 years.
An ongoing community surveillance programme across the state found that many children who were staying at home with Covid19 infected parents or guardians (who opted for home isolation) were later tested positive for the virus.
“Therefore it is advisable that parents or guardians who have tested positive should preferably opt for institutional quarantine instead of home isolation so that spread of Covid19 among children can be prevented,” said the release.
Health authorities informed that nurses and other healthcare personnel have been trained to deal with child Covid19 patients and personnel in ambulances have also been instructed to transport child patients with utmost care.
“Besides setting up pediatric units, health department should also ensure that needs of special children who get infected with Covid19 are also handled with extra care as they are more vulnerable,” said Rupa Hazarika, member of Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR).
Eleven children with special needs who were staying in a children home in Tezpur town were recently found positive for Covid19. They are at present admitted at the Tezpur Medical College Hospital (TMCH).