Dialysis centres in the city have been directed not to shut down operations for more than 24 hours if a COVID-19 patient is detected at their centre. A new circular issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation also states that dialysis centres staffers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) do not require to be quarantined if they are exposed to a coronavirus patient.
The circular, issued on April 27 by Dr Sanjay Oak, chairman of Task Force Committee, comes after several hurdles were noted in the operation of dialysis centres and seeks to modify an earlier BMC circular that warned of punitive action if the centres were found operating without screening patients for coronavirus and in case of virus transmission.
The fresh circular states that if a case is found, standard disinfection protocol will be carried out and only patients who have come in contact with the COVID-19 infected person would be tested. Staffers, wearing PPE and exposed to such patients, would not have to be quarantined, however, those sans PPE would be quarantined if exposed, it states.
“Those (staffers) who do not develop symptoms by the seventh day can rejoin work immediately,” the circular stated while amending the 14-day mandatory quarantine for health workers at dialysis centres.
The earlier circular, issued on April 10, had asked dialysis centres to screen every patient before putting them on dialysis machine. “Any centre found to violate these conditions is liable for punitive action from MCGM,” the circular stated. According to Dr RB Dastur, medical director in Bhatia hospital, they had started requesting all patients to first undergo a coronavirus test and then come if their test report came negative. “This was to contain the spread of the infection,” he said.
Dr Ganesh Sanap, from Apex Swap Transplant Registry, said the process became tedious for patients, who had to undergo a test every time they required a dialysis, as well as for centres, who feared that the civic body will seal their centre if a positive case came up. Patients complained they had to undergo a COVID-19 test every 10 days or so before a fresh cycle of dialysis.
Grant Road-based Dharmendra Kansara said it took two days for his wife’s COVID-19 results to come. “She kept vomiting because her dialysis was not happening on time. COVID-19 test takes a long time. We can’t afford private test every 10 days,” he said, adding that government hospitals had refused to test her.
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