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17 doctors, nurses quarantined after contact with COVID-19 patient at RML

The development comes at a time when doctors and nurses are speaking out about health hazards and occupational risks faced by them in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, especially with regard to access to PPE (personal protective equipment) kits

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Published: March 31, 2020 12:41:54 am
Odisha coronavirus cases, coronavirus cases in Odisha, Odisha health department, coronavirus Odisha patient, Odisha coronavirus patient, India news, Indian Express As the patient was in the general ward, several doctors were exposed as diagnosis of coronavirus had not been done until last night. The patient has now been shifted to the isolation ward for treatment. (File/Represenational)

Seventeen doctors and nurses of the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital have been sent to quarantine after it was found that they came in contact with a COVID-19 patient, who tested positive Sunday night.

“A total of 17 doctors and nurses have been quarantined. While some are quarantining in their homes, some are in the isolation room in the hospital,” said RML PRO Smriti Tiwari.

According to a senior doctor, the patient had been admitted to the hospital due to chronic kidney disease. “The patient was in the general ward and tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday night,” the doctor said. Follow Coronavirus in India LIVE Updates

As the patient was in the general ward, several doctors were exposed as diagnosis of coronavirus had not been done until last night. The patient has now been shifted to the isolation ward for treatment.

A resident doctor at RML said, “The patient was kept in the general ward as we did not know about the coronavirus status; otherwise he would have been moved to the isolation room. There was also no suspicion regarding the same because the preliminary report was negative.”

“Even by the guidelines, the patient did not have any travel history nor did he have contact with any confirmed COVID-19 patient,” the doctor said.

The development comes at a time when doctors and nurses are speaking out about health hazards and occupational risks faced by them in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, especially with regard to access to PPE (personal protective equipment) kits

The United Nurses Association of India (UNAI) has written to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this regard. In their letter dated March 27, Rince Joseph, national working president and, Jibin TC, national working secretary of UNAI, wrote that nurses were the “most vulnerable working groups in hospitals, working in rotation in quarantine wards as well as wards with infected patients by exposing themselves to infected or suspected persons with corona(virus)”.

They demanded “enhanced delivery of PPE kits, which will minimise the exposure of nurses to infected or suspected patients”, “introduction of more protective work schedules” and “minimising vulnerable nurses’ exposure to quarantine wards by using internal regulations”. They also demanded “back and forth transportation for all nurses”, and “paramilitary and defence personnel’s assistance to healthcare professionals”.

RML has 35 isolation beds; 19 are occupied. One person has been admitted for COVID-19.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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