Updated: April 14, 2020 8:47:35 am
Four hospitals and two nursing homes in Kolkata and adjacent Howrah are either partially or completely shut after patients and doctors tested positive for Covid-19. More than 300 people from these establishments — including doctors, nurses, staff and patients — have been quarantined.
Meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, 15 more people tested positive in West Bengal, taking the total active cases to 110 on Monday.
Park Circus SS Chatterjee Heart Clinic, a private nursing home in Kolkata, was closed on Monday after one of its patients tested positive for Covid-19. This comes a day after Charnock Hospital, another private nursing home here, was closed as five patients who underwent dialysis tested positive. Patients at Howrah General Hospital, NRS Medical College and Hospital, RG Kar Medical College Hospital and Calcutta Medical College also tested positive recently, leading to the quarantine of a large number of staff and patients.
Health department officials said they were considering taking more precautions to protect hospitals from coronavirus infection.
A senior health department official said, “We are very worried. There is already scarcity of doctors, nurses and hospitals in the state. If this situation continues, it will be very difficult to give sufficient treatment to corona patients and non-corona patients.”
Regarding the closure of Charnock Hospital, health department sources said that a dialysis patient who was treated there two weeks ago died recently and then tested positive for Covid-19. The nursing home administration then learnt that four other patients who underwent dialysis at the same time also tested coronavirus positive. The nursing home was closed and all employees were quarantined.
Howrah General Hospital was the first of the six establishments to be affected. In the last week of March, a 48-year-old woman died in the hospital, and later turned out to be coronavirus positive. The government announced closure of the hospital. Soon after, two doctors, a superintendent and a sweeper tested positive. More than 200 nurses, doctor, paramedics, staff and patients were quarantined, and all patients were shifted to an adjacent private hospital and a government hospital.
Three government hospitals in Kolkata saw similar situations. At NRS Medical College, one patient died in the male medicine ward and tested positive, while another patient tested positive later. A total of 74 doctors, nurses and patients were quarantined. However, none of them tested positive.
Last Saturday, three patients tested positive at RG Kar Medical College, and two of them died. The male medicine ward and a portion of the cardiology department were closed for an indefinite period and 50 people quarantined.
At Calcutta Medical College, a woman delivered a child on Sunday and later tested Covid-19 positive. The hospital’s Eden Hospital building was closed indefinitely and around 90 people – including 20 doctors and 50 patients —- were quarantined. After one public works department staffer tested positive, CMC’s super speciality building was also closed indefinitely and all the staff there were quarantined.
Manas Gumta, General Secretary, Association of Health Service Doctors, said, “The state government has not prepared proper treatment and admission guidelines for suspected Covid-19 patients. Hospitals are also not separating or isolating suspected patients. If so many doctors, nurses and patients get infected from the hospital, the situation will be dangerous very soon. We are repeatedly conveying this to state government officials, but they are not ready to accept it.”
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