A SIX-MONTH-OLD infant girl from Phagwara in Punjab, who was admitted to the Advanced Paediatric Centre (APC) of PGIMER scheduled to undergo surgery for a congenital heart disease, tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Tuesday night. The infant is completely asymptomatic and was tested for the disease as part of a routine screening of patients scheduled to undergo surgery at PGIMER. At least 54 PGIMER staff who were directly exposed to the infant have been quarantined while a few have already been tested.
The infant was referred to the PGIMER from a SPS hospital in Ludhiana on April 9 and was critically ill. She has been on the ventilator and antimicrobials since and had subsequently stabilised and was scheduled to undergo surgery for congenital heart disease with congestive heart failure before she tested positive for the disease. Apart from the 54 staff members, which comprise18 doctors, 15 nurses, 13 attendants, two physiotherapists and six technicians, four other patients in the ward and their families have also been exposed to the COVID-19 positive infant.
Her family, who are from Phagwara, had taken the child to the hospital in Ludhiana where she was kept under observation for 36 days prior to being referred to PGIMER due to financial constraints. “The patient was with us from March 1 to April 9 but had no symptoms of COVID and was rather being treated for congenital heart disease. During her stay, a total of 12 employees from our hospital were in direct contact who have been isolated and will also be tested,” says Dr Rajiv Kundra, medical superintendent from SPS Hospital.
“From now on, we will have to form a policy to ensure that all the patients referred here take a COVID-19 test before being admitted, because this can prove to be quite hazardous for our staff and other patients,” says PGIMER director Jagat Ram. “Normally we are not aware of who is being referred from where so it is hard to plan on testing strategy for COVID-19.”
The six-month-old infant and has now been shifted to the dedicated COVID-19 ward at PGIMER’s Nehru Extension Block and continues to remain on ventilator support.
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