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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

More health workers test positive at city hospitals

Across Mumbai, close to 100 health workers have been infected.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
April 14, 2020 9:31:14 pm
All those who have tested positive have been shifted to Seven Hills Hospital.

The number of those infected by COVID-19 in Sion hospital rose to seven on Tuesday after a resident doctor and four nurses tested positive for the virus. Across Mumbai, close to 100 health workers have been infected.

In Nair hospital too, a paediatric doctor and a technician have tested positive. The main radiology unit had to be shut on Tuesday and all technicians were quarantined. In Bombay Hospital, a radiologist tested positive on Tuesday.

While BMC has been declaring private hospitals as containment zones even if one doctor or nurse tests positive, officials said they cannot afford to seal the 1,400-bed Sion hospital that serves as a major point of care for Dharavi and nearby areas.

While those who tested positive were shifted to Seven Hills Hospital, at least 11 high-risk contacts of the infected doctor and nurses were quarantined at Sion hospital itself. Several low-risk contacts of these healthcare workers were quarantined in Dharavi’s Sai hospital and Dharavi Sports Club.

Doctors, however, said with Dharavi already a hotspot, it was risky to place health workers under quarantine in that area. “They said the living condition there was poor. How can doctors be asked to live in a containment zone?” a resident doctor from Sion hospital asked. The resident doctor is posted at Sion hospital’s fever clinic to check those suffering from cough and cold.

On Tuesday, none of the doctors or nurses working in the fever clinic at Sion hospital were provided personal protective equipment (PPE). Last week, the doctors at the fever clinic were not provided PPE for two days.

When contacted, Dean Dr. Mohan Joshi said there are adequate number of PPE at the hospital. “The doctors just have to go and ask for it,” he said. He added that only those health workers who develop symptoms and came in contact with the infected will be tested for COVID-19. Asked why hospital staffers were quarantined in Dharavi, he said there was no other option.

A ward-level BMC officer said they have sealed an entire floor of the nurse hostel in Sion hospital after the nurses tested positive. “We cannot declare the hospital a containment zone,” he said, adding that BMC was trying to take steps to quarantine and test their close contacts.

Last week, two resident doctors had tested positive at Sion hospital. One was attending to COVID-19 patients and second had been exposed to patient during an emergency pancreas surgery. The patient had tested positive.

In Nair hospital, Dean Dr. R N Bharmal said three hospital staffers were quarantined after the technician tested positive on Tuesday. “The doctor, who is recovering, had tested positive last week,” he added. Staffers at Nair hospital complained that no disinfection exercise was undertaken in radiology unit (department 6) after the technician tested positive. Bharmal refuted the claims. “We are undertaking all necessary measures,” he said.

In Bombay Hospital, doctors said the radiologist who tested positive on Tuesday is suspected to have contracted the infection from either a patient or from outside the hospital. “We have isolated three hospital staffers who were in contact with him. We are trying to understand how he got infected. The staffers’s swabs have been taken. All are stable,” a doctor said. A BMC official said: “There is no need to declare it a containment zone as of now.”

In Mumbai, at least 10 hospitals have been declared containment zones by BMC and all staffers directed to undergo testing after a few hospital employees tested positive. The BMC is not applying the same rule to its own hospitals.

A senior BMC doctor said several of them were getting exposed to COVID-19 patients at Seven Hills, Kasturba, KEM, Sion and Nair hospitals. “But only symptomatic healthcare workers are being tested. Those who are test negative are expected to immediately join work,” the doctor added.

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