More than 34,000 children were reported to be infected with COVID-19 in Assam since April 1, officials said on June 28.
The officials of the National Health Mission’s (NHM) Assam chapter said that from April 1 to June 26, in all 34 children succumbed to COVID-19. Over 12 per cent of the total 2,80,504 COVID cases reported in Assam between April 1 and June 26 were among children up to the age of 18 years.
“Out of the total of 2,80,504 COVID positive people, 34,606 (12.33 per cent) were children in the age group of 0 to 18 years. Further analysis showed that out of the total of 34,606 children, 5,755 were less than 5 years of age, while 28,851 were in 6 to 18 years age group,” a senior NHM official said.
Out of the 34 districts in Assam, maximum – 14.38 per cent – children tested positive in Nagaon district between April 1 and June 26, followed by Sonitpur (13.89 per cent), Dibrugarh (12.19 per cent), Kamrup Rural (11.75 per cent) and Kamrup Metro (10.04 per cent), which comprises the main city of Guwahati.
A statement from NHM said that many of the 34 children died due to comorbidities like congenital diseases (heart, kidney, rare malformations), especially among those less than 5 years.
During the ongoing Assam Community Surveillance Programme Phase 3 (ACSP 3), it has been found that many children staying with COVID positive parents and guardians, who have opted for home isolation, have subsequently tested positive for the virus, the statement said.
It said that it is being advised that parents and guardians who have tested COVID positive should preferably opt for institutional quarantine instead of home isolation, so that the spread of the virus among children can be prevented.
The health department is strictly following the guidelines issued by the Government of India with regard to paediatric Covid management and has already initiated a slew of steps to address and manage the infection among the vulnerable age groups.
Establishment of COVID paediatric ICUs in all medical colleges and district hospitals are at an advanced stage, the statement said.
More than 5,000 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, have already been trained and are dealing with the patients so that maximum lives can be saved, it said.
Meanwhile, health officials in Shillong said that since the beginning of the pandemic last year, 5,101 children up to the age of 14 have tested positive in Meghalaya, of which 4,344 have recovered while 17 have fallen prey to the virus. The remaining are under treatment at various hospitals.
Majority of the children in the mountainous state were infected during the past one month.