B.1.617 variant responsible for COVID surge in J&K: GMC

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Jammu, May 15 (PTI) The B.1.617 variant was responsible for the recent surge in coronavirus cases in Jammu division, GMC Jammu principal Shashi Sudhan Sharma said on Saturday.

Sharma said the microbiology department at GMC Jammu was also coordinating with National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi, for routine sequencing of positive sample.

According to the report received from the NCDC, the UK variant was reported in about 60 percent samples in March.

In April, the percentage of UK variant dropped to 47 per cent and B.1.617 increased from 5.8 per cent to 38 per cent, Sharma said.

Sharma said 434 samples had been sent to the NCDC from Jammu division and report of 64 samples was still awaited.

Kailash Singh, department of surgery assistant professor, said the health system was functioning at its peak capacity and health workers were putting in all possible efforts to augment the system by each passing day.

'We have increased the number of COVID-care beds, installed a dialysis facility and started an oxygen generation plant in addition to a number of other improvements,' he said, adding that there were over 800 COVID beds and 87 critical care beds in the hospital.

'Last year, the hospital had to depend on Gandhi Nagar government hospital for dialysis but in response to COVID-19, a similar facility has been installed here also,' he said.

In addition to its existing oxygen generation plant, he said the GMC has made functional a new 2,400 litre-per-minute capacity plant in its premises since last week.

'Moreover, we also have a liquid medical oxygen reservoir of 20,000 kilolitres capacity, which is replenished every day,' he said. PTI TAS HMB

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