In the last two weeks, 79 government doctors have tested positive for COVID in Hyderabad, said a Resident Doctors Association.
The latest was from Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), where four doctors and three paramedics tested positive on Saturday.
“At Osmania Medical College 49 doctors, 26 at NIMS, and 4 at Gandhi Medical College have tested positive so far. Several lab staffers, nurses and paramedics have also tested positive. Doctors and staff require more protective gear. We are also hearing a number of doctors of private hospitals also testing positive and they are being treated at the hospitals where they work,’’ said Dr. G Srinivas, the president of NIMS Resident Doctors Association.
Healthcare workers at top government medical colleges and hospitals blame the government for exposing them to the coronavirus by not testing enough.
“The government should at least start testing more now. So many doctors and health workers are at risk,’’ said Dr K Mahesh Kumar, the president of the Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association.
“Testing is an early warning system. The government is not testing enough and its policy is putting doctors and frontline workers at extreme risk. We don’t know about the spread of infection; which areas it has spread, and what is the population that is infected and in which region,” said Kumar.
Telangana government’s daily bulletins do not talk about the samples tested on the day or to date. The total number of COVID cases from Telangana stood at 3496 as of Sunday.
“Telangana High Court has directed the state government to submit testing figures but it has not done so far. We will file a contempt petition against the Telangana Government. As the state has not conducted enough tests it is not revealing the figures,” said Professor P L Vishweshwara Rao who filed a petition seeking testing figures.
“Healthcare workers are not being allowed to test as authorities think that if they test positive it would send a bad signal to others and they may refuse to work. Infected doctors not only pose risk to patients they are treating but also to their own families and other staff members,’’ Dr. Kumar said.
Senior doctors and public health experts say it is alarming as doctors in the three main hospitals have tested positive.
“Many of these are very highly experienced senior doctors, including cardiology specialists, pulmonologists, diabetologists, and general physicians. The high number of cases among doctors indicates that a large number of people visiting hospitals are carrying the virus and they don’t know about it because no tests have been done in the area from which they come from,” a senior doctor said.
Telangana Health Minister Etela Rajender told The Indian Express that the government has provided good quality PPEs to doctors. “More safety equipment would be provided to doctors and healthcare workers,’’ he said.
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