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COVID-19: Bandipora’s RRT warriors put lives on the line to ensure aggressive contact tracing | KNO

‘Its suffocating to work with PPEs on, breathing becomes tough in masks, gloves, but we are committed to our job’

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Bandipora, Aug 04 (KNO): Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic set its foot in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, authorities formed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) of hospital staff whose put in their best efforts without caring for lives to ensure aggressive contact tracing of Covid positive patients. News agency—Kashmir News Observer(KNO), spoke to many Covid warriors who were part of RRT and stayed in hospital accommodation ever since the first Covid-19 case was detected. These warriors continue to perform the noble duty to save people`s lives, while risking their own. "Ever since the number of patients in the district increased, these frontline warriors were always ready to play their bit. They have neither slept nor gone to their homes,” Mir Tafazul a team head of RRT told KNO He said without fearing for their lives the RRT members have left no stone unturned to trace the contacts of positive patients who were earlier reported from the various localities of the district. In the battle against COVID-19, there is an urgent need to provide health care providers with PPEs, such as masks, gloves and gowns, to keep them safe as they treat patients, Tafazul said. “We need to use this PPE wisely, so I recommend to my staff that we should use surgical medical masks while dealing with suspected and mild cases, and save the N95 masks for medical staff dealing with confirmed and severe COVID-19 cases,” he said. In initial stage of virus Bandipora had no sample collection Centre and it was tough for patients as well as medical staff to ferry them to Srinagar and back after testing for Covid19. “When the situation went out of control, it was decided to take samples in the district and the job for technicians become tough as they had to collect samples in their area but they accepted it happily for their people,” Tafazul said. Waseem Yousuf Wani, who works as senior Laboratory Technician and in charge sampling collection Bandipora said: “We spend a grueling time during day in the collection Centre. We have collected more than 2500 samples in last two months while sticking to the strict lab protocol. Despite that 21 people (employees) tested positive.” Also, from 30 samples a day in March, Wani and his team are now testing around 250 samples daily, and it sometimes goes up to 300 in extreme cases. “Initially, two sets of swab samples from a suspected patient’s throat and nose were taken by us, which later went to the testing labs established in Srinagar,” he said. “Fear is there but it fails to deter us anymore. We are not demanding anything or a reward for that matter but our role shouldn’t be forgotten.” Dr Shahnawaz, who is deputed at Covid centre B said that stress and anxiety over COVID-19 can be overwhelming for patients. “When a patient with symptoms is admitted they are often afraid. I talk to them, calm them and advise that they should take care of themselves, clear their mind and search for the light amid this darkness,” he said. “It’s difficult to breathe in those tight masks, it’s terribly hot in the PPEs and it’s definitely very uncomfortable, especially while performing medical procedures on the patients.” He said: “Most of my colleagues who stay with their families have limited themselves to separate rooms, they are not hugging their children anymore.”—(KNO)

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