North Bengal hospital refuses to test samples sent by Sikkim due to spike in Covid-19 cases

Sikkim stopped sending samples from May 19. Officials in Sikkim said NBMCH authorities told them that the hospital was carrying out more tests than before since the number of cases in Bengal has gone up.
The North Bengal Medical College and Hospital had been regularly testing swab samples sent from Sikkim where only one citizen was infected so far.(ANI PHOTO.)
The North Bengal Medical College and Hospital had been regularly testing swab samples sent from Sikkim where only one citizen was infected so far.(ANI PHOTO.)
Updated on May 29, 2020 11:51 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Siliguri | By

The Himalayan state of Sikkim alleged on Friday that the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) in Siliguri town, West Bengal government’s biggest hospital in the region, has refused to test swab samples it sends for Covid-19 tests.

NBMCH had been regularly testing swab samples sent from Sikkim where only one citizen was infected so far. Though Sikkim carries out the Truenat-Beta-CoV test, samples were being sent to NBMCH for a second confirmation.

Pempa Bhutia, health secretary of Sikkim, said, “Eighty-five samples were returned by NBMCH on Thursday while 750 samples sent earlier are yet to be tested.”

Sikkim stopped sending samples from May 19. Officials in Sikkim said NBMCH authorities told them that the hospital was carrying out more tests than before since the number of cases in Bengal has gone up.

Sikkim’s health minister Mani Kumar Sharma said, “We understand the pressure being faced by NBMCH. We are hopeful that the samples lying there will be tested even if the process may be delayed.”

Praloy Acharjee, chief medical officer of health, Darjeeling district, said, “We are augmenting the testing capacity at NBMCH. We will, however, test samples from Sikkim that are marked urgent.”

NBMCH’s Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory is testing up to 1,500 swab samples a day now. It receives more than 2,000 samples a day from different parts of north Bengal.

The number of Covid-19 cases is rising fast in the region. Four people tested Covid-19 positive in the Darjeeling hills on Friday.

An NBMCH doctor, who did not want to be quoted, said, “The reason for refusing samples from Sikkim is the pressure the hospital is facing due to increased testing.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    I am working with Hindustan Times since 2001 and am posted in Siliguri, West Bengal, as Principal Correspondent. I have been regularly covering vast area of northern parts of West Bengal, Sikkim and parts of Nepal and Bhutan.

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