With a few days left for schools and PU colleges (classes 6 to 12) to resume functioning with 100 per cent attendance from October 1, new Covid-19 clusters reported from educational institutions in Bengaluru and Kolar have caught the attention of officials from the health and education departments in Karnataka.
The cluster in the Karnataka capital was identified by the health authorities after tests were conducted at the hostel of Sri Chaitanya PU and CBSE College located near Electronics City Phase 2, after a student tested positive on September 26.
According to a staff member from the PU college, the student who tested positive first (on Sunday) was an inmate of the hostel. “While the student had developed symptoms including fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, she first underwent Rapid Antigen Testing for which the result came positive. An RT-PCR test was also done for confirmation, which also turned positive,” the staff member said.
Anekal Taluk Health Officer Dr Vinay Kumar added that other students began developing symptoms soon after which 27 more students who underwent RAT tested positive, while RT-PCR was recommended to the others.
The incident was also reported to the Bengaluru Urban district health authorities after it was identified that a total of 485 students and 57 staff including 22 teachers were in the hostel.
“While 27 of the total 105 samples sent for antigen testing returned positive on Monday, 33 others tested positive after RT-PCR tests were done the next day,” G Srinivas, Bengaluru Urban District Health Office (DHO) confirmed. The campus has now been declared a containment zone. “Students and staff living in other blocks are also being subjected to RT-PCR tests now even if they are asymptomatic,” the DHO added.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru Urben Deputy Commissioner J Manjunath said that all inmates of the hostels would be tested again on the seventh day. “As a proactive measure, the institution will be closed till October 20,” he said.
Health officials are looking into the travel history of the students as fourteen of those who tested positive were from Tamil Nadu while others were from different parts of the state including Kalaburagi, Raichur, and Ballari.
The college staff said that it was decided to include only two inmates in each room due to the situation, as opposed to four sharing a room earlier. “All of them had submitted negative RT-PCR reports as they reached before September 6 when classes began. We did not expect an outbreak here at all,” the staff member said.
Meanwhile, parents who gathering outside the hostel demanded that their wards were sent back home due to the situation. “We have been told to get the consent from the District Surveillance Officer before allowing parents to take their wards back and this is being strictly followed,” the staff member added.
“The situation is being closely monitored and all necessary items including pulse oximeters and sanitisers have been distributed to the inmates of the hostel. The campus premises and the hostel have been sanitised as well,” the DHO added.
Meanwhile, 12 students of Chinmaya High School in Kolar tested positive after the health department conducted RT-PCR tests on nearly 400 students of Class 9 and 10. “There is no need to panic as all of them were asymptomatic and were advised home isolation. Testing has been enhanced with nearly 1,000 samples collected daily in a random manner and are sent for testing,” a senior health official said.