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Monday, January 24, 2022

Delhi: At 4 hospitals, over 100 doctors positive

With the strength of doctors across government hospitals already low due to delays in NEET-PG counselling, the outbreak has thrown fresh challenges.

Written by Abhinav Rajput , Anonna Dutt | New Delhi |
Updated: January 5, 2022 7:54:19 am
Meanwhile, Tuesday marked the second day of the vaccination drive for children between 15-18 years of age. (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

Amid the rise in Covid cases, at least 120 doctors have tested positive and are undergoing quarantine at four major hospitals in the capital.

With the strength of doctors across government hospitals already low due to delays in NEET-PG counselling, the outbreak has thrown fresh challenges.

Those who tested positive over the past few days include roughly 50 doctors at AIIMS, 50 at Safdarjung, 15 at Ram Manohar Lohia and 20 at Hindu Rao hospital. The numbers are likely to be higher if other hospitals are factored in.

At AIIMS, there are 65 staff members, including doctors, who have Covid and are in isolation. As a result, the winter leaves, which were to end on January 10, have been cancelled.

A resident doctor at Safdarjung said more than 40 positive results have been confirmed by the microbiology department, while 10 cases are of doctors who got tested outside. The biggest challenge is that the hospital is already short-staffed since new batches have not been admitted due to delays in counselling, he said. In fact, this was the cause for a widespread protest by resident doctors across the country recently.

There are more than 2,000 doctors at the hospital.

“This time, the infection is mild and most of the people are either asymptomatic or have symptoms like fever and sore throat. The problem is not hospital beds getting full; the problem is a shortage of manpower. Currently, one of the units (every department has four to five units) has run out of resident doctors because all of them are in isolation,” said a doctor from the hospital on condition of anonymity.

All heads of departments at the hospital have been asked to report every morning the number of people in their department who have tested positive.

Hindu Rao resident doctors’ association president Tanuraj Tyagi said around 20 doctors have been infected and are currently isolated.

There are 350 resident doctors and around 50 senior doctors, including those from orthopaedic, surgery and paediatrics departments, at the hospital.

At Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, sources in the doctors’ union said around 20 have tested positive for the virus.

A resident doctor at AIIMS said 50-70 doctors have been affected so far. “We have WhatsApp groups in which people keep posting. The exact number is not known but in every department, there are more than five to six cases and the total number could even be more than 70.”

Safdarjung, AIIMS, RML and Hindu Rao are all dedicated Covid facilities.

As per the government orders, all private hospitals and nursing homes in Delhi having 50 beds or more have to reserve at least 40 per cent of their total bed capacity – that is, 40 per cent of ward bed capacity and 40 per cent of lCU bed capacity – for Covid patients.

Resident doctors at the hospitals said many healthcare workers have been showing symptoms but are not getting tested and the situation can worsen in the coming days.

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