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285 health-care workers, doctors test positive at PGI

Since December 12, 2020, more than 285 HCWs and doctors at the institute are Covid positive, with a high number of infections reported December 26 onwards.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
January 6, 2022 5:59:25 am
90 health-care workers (HCW) and 37 doctors have tested positive on PGI campus. (File)

On January 4, 90 health-care workers (HCW) and 37 doctors have tested positive on PGI campus. Since December 12, 2020, more than 285 HCWs and doctors at the institute are Covid positive, with a high number of infections reported December 26 onwards. While most are double vaccinated, a few are not vaccinated, with a couple having received only a single dose.

Dr PVM Lakshmi, Professor, Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGI says that till now the infections have been mild and while they will cause a burden on the health care system, she hopes they will tide over the crisis. “The isolation last time was ten days, and now it is seven days, so that will also help. All across the country, vaccination is protecting from severe disease and hospitalisation. It is is a good sign,” says Prof Lakshmi. The vaccination of children and protection dose for seniors and those with comorbidities she adds, is also vital.

‘In unvaccinated or partly vaccinated, Omicron can be severe’
Prof Rakesh Kochhar former head, gastroenterology, PGI says that Omicron cases are increasing because it is more transmissible. Though it leads to mild disease, says Prof Kochhar, in the unvaccinated, partly vaccinated, elderly or people with comorbidities, it can be severe.

“In the USA, hospitals are getting unvaccinated and children for admission. There are 15-20 crore people in India who have skipped the second dose. Booster helps in preventing severe disease. There could be a more sinister variant in future. As long as Covid finds susceptible (unvaccinated) hosts, it will multiply and this increases chances of more mutations. Get full vaccination and if available get a booster. Yes, the Omicron variant evades immunity offered by vaccines more than Delta. Still, fully vaccinated are better protected against hospitalisation. And with booster, that protection rises,” he added. As for the rising number of cases among HCWs, the doctor says that the numbers will increase rapidly, and that can cause a strain on testing and hospitals besides panic. He agrees that as doctors and nurses get infected, they will go off work, causing shortages in hospitals. “Don’t ignore mild symptoms, get tested and isolate from family,” advises Prof Kochhar.

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