The Directorate of Medical Education (DME) in Telangana Thursday instructed the principals and superintendents of all medical colleges to divide the medical staff into two batches and send each on seven days of quarantine after 24 hours of duty. This comes after nearly 50 doctors, including post-graduates and interns, tested positive for Covid-19 in the state in the last few days.
The latest direction applies to all medical colleges, teaching, and specialty hospitals that come under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation limits.
The medical staff, including the faculty, PGs, interns, paramedical and outsourcing staff who are involved in patient care, have been under tremendous workload with a sudden spurt in the number of the coronavirus cases in Telangana.
As of June 3, the total number of cases in Telangana was 3,020, with 1,365 of them currently active and under treatment. Ninety-nine patients have succumbed to the disease in the state so far.
On Thursday, the total number of doctors tested positive for coronavirus at Osmania Medical College reached 15. They are in the age group 21-30 years and include nine female doctors. Only four of them are symptomatic. In the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences(NIMS), the number of doctors tested positive for the virus has reached nine. The patients include one faculty member from the cardiology department. Three technicians, too, have been tested positive at NIMS.
As per the DME’s instructions, the institutional heads are instructed to strictly prepare the list of the batches and maintain that all are on duty. No leaves are permitted during the period.
If any staff member developes symptoms, he/she should be immediately isolated and tested. If found positive for Covid-19, they should be sent for treatment and a replacement should come from the quarantine pool of staff, reads the circular. Further, it directs the institution head to make available adequate PPE kits and masks and assign one of the senior RMOs to monitor the same closely. There should not be any scope for complaints of non-availability of PPE kits and masks, the circular said.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Dr Shashikala Reddy, Principal of the Osmania Medical College, confirmed that the young doctors are under tremendous stress and hence, the new instructions from the DME were a necessity. Asked about the workload on the PGs, she said, “That is why the new changes. We are cutting down the OP cases and have decided to see only emergency cases. Wear PPE all the time and work in two batches so that some of them can have a break from work.”
When asked if there is any apprehension among the young doctors due to the rising cases, Dr Reddy said, “It is tough. Some of the PGs have refused to work at OPs for two weeks. They wanted quarantine. We will be posting other PGs over there from tomorrow.”
On the doctors who have tested positive, Dr Reddy said, “All of them have contracted the virus in different hospitals where they were posted. Four or five of them are under treatment and other asymptomatic patients are sent home. Five hostels have been shut down and they have all been moved to one hostel for boys and one for girls. Those tested negative will work in batches now.”
The members of the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA) had met with state Health Minister Eatala Rajender Thursday. They had requested for rotational shifts with a quarantine facility and frequent testing of their samples for the disease.
Expressing satisfaction over the latest instructions from the DME, TJUDA president Dr G Srinivas said they also wanted to know if the final year exams for PG doctors, which is scheduled to start June 20, will be postponed.
He also claimed that as many as 48 doctors have tested positive in Telangana as of date. “12 are tested positive in NIMS, 4 in Gandhi General Hospital, and 32 in Osmania Medical College and its 10 affiliate hospitals,” he told indianexpress.com.
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