Three family members from Bapu Dham Colony who were diagnosed with novel coronavirus spent the intervening night between Monday and Tuesday with non-Covid patients at the Covid Care Centre set up inside Panjab University’s Hostel Number 8 by the UT Administration.
The three patients were taken to the hostel inside a bus along with 16 other patients to Panjab University on Monday evening. However, after testing positive for coronavirus later that night, the patients were shifted to GMSH-16 and then subsequently to Sood Dharamshala in Sector 22 by 2:30 pm on Tuesday.
Along with the three patients, at least 142 non-Covid patients from Bapu Dham Colony were admitted to the PU Covid Care Centre.
“We were told to pack up our bags by police on the day of Eid. It was around 4:30 pm and they came by and bundled us into a bus which took us to the university. We had given our samples on Sunday evening, but they didn’t tell us the results,” said the 21-year-old man, whose younger sister and father were taken along with him to PU, before eventually being shifted to Sood Dharamshala.
The man’s mother and two other close relatives had tested positive for coronavirus earlier and were shifted to Dhanwantri Ayurveda College and Hospital on May 21. “After that, they tested us as well on May 23. Then they came back on 24th and said our tests are inconclusive and tested us again,” the 21-year-old said.
The man and the rest of his family members stayed home even while they were tested twice by a team of healthcare workers. Furthermore, they were not informed regarding the status of their test report, though the results came on Monday night.
“They don’t give us our reports, we are just herded away from one place to another. I don’t even trust their machine. They first said we are negative and then later told us we are positive. We have no symptoms, what is the proof then?” the 21-year-old asked. In fact, most COVID-19 patients from the city have cited the same complaint, stating that they do not receive their reports even after repeatedly requesting the authorities.
When asked about the mismanagement of COVID-19 patients from Bapu Dham Colony, UT Advisor Manoj Parida stated: “They were anyway staying at home before they tested positive. So what is the problem if they spent a night at a Covid Care Centre as well? The UT had divided its dedicated COVID- 19 infrastructure into COVID-19 hospitals for patients with moderate to severe symptoms, COVID hospitals for asymptomatic and mild symptoms, and COVID Care Centres for quarantining vulnerable populations from COVID-19 hotpots.”
However, patients are now constantly circulating between all these separate facilities, with positive patients admitted to Sood Dharamshala, which was earlier dedicated as a post-discharge quarantine centre. “Now we have two wings in Sood Dharamshala. One wing for COVID-19 patients, and another for patients in post-discharge quarantine,” Parida said.
‘Grave lapses in handling of isolation wards on campus’
Following reports of COVID-19 positive patients admitted to PU Hostel No. 8, the PU Teachers Association (PUTA) penned a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the university, alleging mismanagement by the Chandigarh Administration in handling suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted to the hostel and raising concerns regarding the safety of students and staff.
Referring to the housing of confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital, the letter stated this single incident has sent shivers down the spine of all the stakeholders of the Panjab University.
“At this crucial moment, even a single error on part of the administration can prove disastrous for the university,” the letter added.
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