… other teams share the workload 

Dechen Dolkar 

A surveillance team of Royal Centre for Disease Control  (RCDC)has been quarantined after one of its members tested positive for Covid-19 recently.

The centre has 10 teams collecting samples from flu clinics in Thimphu and 13 teams dedicated to collecting samples from red flats, red clusters and for contract tracing. Each team consists of five staff including a driver.

The RCDC official said that despite all the biosafety precautions, staff are exposed to the virus. “We had quarantined the whole team.”

The official said that the risk of the sample collectors getting infected is very high because they come in contact with the positive cases all the time.

However, he said that since they don’t have to do mass screening, the absence of a team does not affect their work.

“If one team gets compromised, another team will be deployed to collect samples from the field. Each team is kept in the different containment areas so that services are not compromised,” the official said.

RCDC has divided its staff into laboratory PCR testing team, field sample collection or antigen testing team which is further divided into flu clinic team and contact tracing team, data management or reporting team, logistics and maintenance team and infection control and waste management team.

The testing team works round the clock with two teams working shifts. The field team works the whole day collecting samples and also conducting field antigen tests as and when needed. They also attend all the emergency sample collections.

Currently, the RCDC has 49 staff. The centre is also supported by Faculty of Nursing and Public Health students, de-suups, RBA medical personnel, and vehicles with drivers from various government offices.