GUWAHATI, Aug 30 – Assam is staring at shortage of medical oxygen, leaving a worried health department to explore the option of importing it from outside the State. Currently, there are 433 COVID-19 patients on oxygen support. “In the month of July, we required 5 metric tonnes of medical oxygen daily. This month it has increased to 8.25 metric tonnes. This is only for covid patients,” Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, adding that the total oxygen requirement now, including for non-covid patients, is 25 metric tonnes.
The companies in the State produce only around 37.86 metric tonnes of medical oxygen daily. “We still have a buffer of around 12 MT, but the demand-supply gap is fast reducing,” Sarma said, adding that the State government is exploring the possibility of importing it from Jharkhand and West Bengal.
“But it will not be easy to get tankers every day… The COVID statistics in the State are not good. That is why I am appealing to people to following the COVID protocols, wear masks and maintain social distancing. Our life-saving resources are depleting and we have to flatten the COVID graph,” he said.
As of now, 126 COVID patients are in ICU.
Around 707 were administered plasma therapy till date and the minister said as the therapy was given at an early stage, the success rate has been 95 per cent in the State.
The State’s coronavirus tally crossed 1 lakh yesterday, reaching 1,01,367.
The death toll till Friday night was 286. Majority of the deaths were in Kamrup Metro (64), followed y Dibrugarh (39) and Cachar (25).
The mortality rate has risen in the last 15 days from 0.24 to 0.28.
Meanwhile, with financial pressure increasing due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, the health department has decided that from now on any patient opting for paying cabin will have to pay its charge. Medicines will not be charged.
Also, the government will not provide dropping facility for cured patients from hospitals or covid-care centres. However, inter-district transport will be provided.
“Also, if any one requires RT-PCR test results in 24 hours, they will have to pay Rs 2,200,” the minister added.