A 42-year-old woman from Kapurthala, who was admitted to PGIMER’s Advance Cardiac Centre for a cardiovascular surgery, tested positive for coronavirus on Monday evening, after she had previously tested negative at the civil hospital at Kapurthala.
It was on the basis of this negative report that she was admitted to PGIMER. Since testing positive for the disease, PGIMER has traced 71 healthcare workers exposed to the patient, out of whom 32 have been quarantined.
The 42-year-old woman was receiving treatment at PGIMER before the lockdown for a cardiac disease, but was discharged and sent back home to Kapurthala once the lockdown began. “She had got an angiography done and we were told one of her valves is damaged. We were given medicines and sent back home because they couldn’t schedule a surgery or further treatment at PGIMER during the lockdown,” says the woman’s 49-year-old husband, who is engaged in motor repair at Kapurthala.
However, after the lockdown, in early June, the woman had extreme pain in her left leg and couldn’t walk, which is symptomatic of a cardiac arrest. The woman and her husband consulted local doctors who advised them to take her to PGIMER for a corrective surgery.
“However, PGIMER demanded that we get a COVID test done before they admit her, so we got her tested at the Civil Hospital on the tenth,” said the 49-year-old man. After the woman’s test result came negative, she was admitted to PGIMER on June 12.
As she was admitted to the ICU in the Advanced Cardiac Centre for a cardio-vascular surgery, most healthcare workers were attending to the 42-year-old without proper protective gear.
When the woman developed symptoms, including breathlessness and coughing, PGIMER doctors decided to test the patient for COVID-19 again and her results came back positive on June 16. The hospital conducted contact tracing of the patient and consolidated a list of 32 ‘high-risk’ healthcare workers who have been quarantined and 39 healthcare workers who are ‘low-risk’ and should continue their work as usual.
The 32 ‘high-risk’ quarantined staff members include 17 doctors, 11 nurses, two hospital attendants and two lab technicians.
19 more contractual staff exposed to patient demand quarantine facility
Beyond the 32 quarantined staff members, at least 19 more contractually hired hospital attendants (HAs) and sanitation attendants (HAs) demand that they be quarantined as well, since they were also exposed to the patient and do not wish to go back home and put their families at risk of contracting the disease.
The staff members have shut themselves in the canteen at the Advanced Cardiac Centre and refuse to go home until they are provided quarantine facilities.
“They have just quarantined two HAs when at least 19 more HAs and SAs people have been exposed to the patient without any protective gear, including masks and gloves. These people are afraid to go back home to their young children,” said Sanjeev Kanojia, union head of contractual staff at PGIMER. Kanojia said that most of these staff members live in COVID-affected areas such as Khuda Alisher and Dhanas, and they do not wish to commute back to these pockets every day.
“We have segregated the Kapurthala patient’s contacts as high-risk and low-risk on the basis of how exposed they were to the patient. Some staff members who were barely exposed have been told to resume work since they don’t need quarantine. This has been contemplated over by a team of doctors and almost 100 staff members have been carefully screened before this decision was taken,” said a spokesperson for PGIMER.
At 9 pm, the PGIMER authorities accepted the demand for quarantine facilities made by the 19 HAs and SAs. They have been put in quarantine at the PGIMER sarai.
8 more cases in the city
Eight more people tested positive for coronavirus in the UT, taking the tally of patients up to 365, with 56 active cases.
The eight patients include three from Khuda Alisher between the ages of 2 and 74 years, all of whom are family contacts of an already diagnosed patient.
A 22-year-old and 54-year-old woman from Sector 41, who are also contacts of an already diagnosed patient, also tested positive for the disease. Furthermore, a 12-year-old family contact of already diagnosed patient from Bapu Dham Colony tested positive for coronavirus.
Apart from these cases, a 25-year-old man from Bhaskar Colony in Sector 25 tested positive for the disease on Tuesday. The man was working at a Punjab government office in Sector 35, and had last attended work on June 4. He has 18 workplace contacts, all of whom have been tested. Four of his family contacts have also been tested and 10 community contacts who are currently asymptomatic have been quarantined.
A 58-year-old man from Ramdarbar tested positive for coronavirus. The man is a workplace contact of already diagnosed COVID-19 cases from Punjab. They were working together in a private factory at Derabassi. He has two family contacts who are currently asymptomatic and 23 community contacts.
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