Sikkim lost it first health worker to Covid-19 when a 49-year-old nursing assistant superintendent of the New STNM Hospital near Gangtok passed away from the disease in the early hours of Friday.
Health officials said the nurse, who had comorbidities, had been admitted to the very hospital she was serving for the second time on Wednesday and put on ventilator the following day. “She had been discharged from the hospital on Tuesday after undergoing treatment for Covid. She had to be admitted again after her health took a turn for the worst,” said an official.
Sources said though the patient had not recovered, she had been discharged because she had already spent two weeks at the hospital.
The nurse, who had done Covid duty at the hospital in August, is believed to have contracted the disease at her work place. With her death, the toll from Covid in the state has risen to 24. In all, 2274 persons in the state had tested for the novel coronavirus till Thursday.
The Covid warrior’s death has led to an outpouring of grief with people hailing her as a hero. “It is a big loss for our health department. She had done Covid duty in August. I would like to convey my heartfelt condolences to her family. We are in touch with her family. We will talk to the government and see what can be done for her family,” said Pempa T. Bhutia, the director general-cum-secretary of the Sikkim health department.
Bhutia also appealed to other health workers not to be discouraged by the tragic loss of a fellow colleague. “We know everyone in the department has been working very hard. We must continue to give our service, but by taking adequate precautions. We must first protect ourselves and then serve others,” he added.
The ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha mourned the health worker’s death. “We have had to lose one of our frontline warriors in this fight against the coronavirus. Acknowledging her contribution to the people, we would like to pay our rich tributes to her,” the SKM said in a release.
Former chief minister and president of the Sikkim Democratic Front Pawan Chamling, too, expressed his condolences. “This valiant daughter of Sikkim gave her life fighting for the rest of us. I salute this lady with all my heart for her selfless service which led to her heroic death. Her sacrifice will not be taken lightly,” he said.