As the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the state has surpassed the 2,000-mark, private hospitals in at least six districts, including Agra, have emerged as prominent carriers of SARS CoV-2, the virus that cause novel coronavirus.
As per data collected by The Indian Express, at least 174 coronavirus positive cases have been linked to private and public hospitals – or 8.47 cases for every 100 infections in the state till Tuesday. Of the 174 cases, 129 people — including patients, health care workers and their contacts — have been traced to only private hospitals in the six districts. According to the data, at least 28 healthcare workers and their contacts, including 15 in Agra, are among the infected people.
Alarmed by the development, the state government has formed committees at the district level to ensure hospitals follow protocol while handling patients. In fact, some hospitals have been booked for not adhering to coronavirus protocols.
“The next big challenge for us appears to be in the healthcare sector (wherein doctors and other hospital staffers are infected) because the spread is fast and it becomes very hard for us to trace contacts. Hospitals can make the virus spread in several districts at once,” said State Surveillance Officer Vikasendu Agarwal.
In his last three media briefings, Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was worried that healthcare workers are being affected.
Agra is the worst affected district whose hospitals have reported a high number of infections. At least 112 positive cases have been traced to five private hospitals or clinics — Paras Hospital, SR Hospital, Sarthak Hospital, a clinic of one Dr Patni and Synergy Hospital. In addition, 35 cases have been connected to SN Medical College, the main COVID-treatment facility in Agra.
Data shows that the number of infections from Paras Hospital stands at 90 cases and their contacts since April 6. The infections in other districts which can be directly or indirectly connected to Paras Hospital take the number to above 100 cases. Officials in Agra had earlier told The Indian Express that patients from at least 11 districts were admitted at Paras Hospital when the infection reportedly spread in the first week of April.
“Infection at Paras Hospital started after a woman from Meerut who got admitted at the hospital on March 26 for some kidney related issues. Precautions were not taken by the hospital as she was later found positive. We sealed the hospital on April 6 after getting information about the infection. We made a plan to identify all primary, secondary and tertiary contacts so that we can break the chain,” said Agra DM Prabhu Narain Singh. An FIR has already been registered against the hospital.
So far nine positive cases have been linked to S R Hospital, seven to Synergy Hospital, four to the Dr Patni’s clinic, and two from Sarthak Hospital.
A senior district official quoted above said they had to run “surveillance procedure similar to tracing a criminals” to trace contacts of Paras Hospital because they were not forthcoming.
In Lucknow too, two patients, suffering from kidney-related ailment, were admitted to one Chandan Hospital and later tested positive. One of them died during treatment. The two cases are in addition to a resident doctor of KGMU, who also infected three of his family members and a nurse of hospital’s critical care unit.
In Ayodhya, the only positive patient is a 25-year-old pregnant woman who was under treatment at Sanjafi Hospital. An FIR was later registered against the hospital for negligence.
Meerut Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Rajkumar said the accountant of one Santosh Hospital was tested positive around 10 days ago. His two family members tested positive. “The accountant was living in a hotspot area from where at least 17 cases were found to be positive, and we suspect someone among those 17 to be his source of infection. There was negligence found on behalf of Santosh Hospital as even after the accountant was symptomatic, he kept taking medicines and continued working there for at least two days. An FIR was registered against the hospital,” said Rajkumar.
In Ghaziabad, at least three hospital staffers, including two doctors of Max Hospital, tested positive. “The source of infection is considered to be one of the doctors who would visit Max Hospital in Delhi, which became a major coronavirus hotspot. After his infection, we tested around 250 hospital staff and patients and they were all found to be negative,” said district CMO Narendra Gupta.
In Noida, three persons were found positive from one Jaypee hospital and two from Yatharth Hospital earlier this month. On Monday, eight medical staff tested positive in various hospitals of the district — six from Super Speciality Pediatric Hospital in Sector 30, which is specifically looking after COVID-19 patients, while two others from ESIC Hospital in Sector 24 and district hospital.
Principal Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad said that infection prevention protocol was being implemented in all hospitals and committees had been formed in all 75 districts to ensure the same. “It has been decided that District Additional CMO will be the head of the committee and representatives of the district hospital, woman hospital, IMA, WHO and UNICEF will be there in the committee. These committees have been asked to train one nodal officer for at least 10 private hospitals in divisional headquarter districts and staff of at least five private hospitals other districts,” said Prasad. “By May 5, nodal officers will be trained,” he said.
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