Twenty two people, a majority of them children and teenagers, tested Covid-19 positive at St Joseph Orphanage and School in Agripada at Byculla. Of these 22, four children below 12 years, have been admitted to the paediatric ward of Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central, and the remaining 18 have been shifted to Richardson and Cruddas Covid Care Centre at Byculla.
Officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said all of them are asymptomatic and stable. Other than the four children, 12 are in the 12-18 age group, while the remaining six are adults, the BMC said. A 71-year-old woman, who works in the orphanage’s kitchen, is among the patients.
The development came to light after two girls of the orphanage tested Covid- positive on Monday. A special screening was then organised for residents and staff at the all-women institution.
“We organised a testing camp at the orphanage on August 24. RT-PCR test was conducted on total 95 residents, including staff and children, of the orphanage home. The test reports of 22 came positive on August 25 after which as a precautionary measure, we admitted the paediatric patients to Nair Hospital and rest at the Covid care centre at Byculla,” Manish Valunje, assistant municipal commissioner, E Ward (Byculla), told The Indian Express.
Officials said to make sure that other residents are safe, another screening will be held after five days at the orphanage. As per the protocol, the orphanage has been sealed and sanitised and all other residents quarantined.
To understand whether these 22 patients contracted Delta or Delta Plus variants of the virus, test samples of all of them have been sent for genome sequencing.
“Samples of all 22 patients have been taken for genome sequencing at Kasturba Hospital. We are waiting the results to know about the variant. We will observe the condition of all patients, and if everything is fine after seven days, they will be discharged,” said Dr Shailendra Gujar, medical officer of health (MOH), E Ward.
This is the first time in the past couple of months that so many Covid-19 cases have been found at one place, and it also the biggest cluster of patients aged under 18 so far.
The pandemic’s second wave started waning since May in Mumbai. “In E Ward, we have been getting daily average cases below 10. Three days ago, only three cases were found in entire Byculla. We have been testing around 1,000 people daily. We also test 400 people at Mumbai Central daily. We are arranging regular fever camps,” said Gujar.
On Wednesday, the city recorded an increase in daily cases after 343 patients were found positive with four deaths. The BMC has conducted 42,723 tests across the city.
Meanwhile, a housing society in Kandivali has been sealed after 14 Covid-19 cases were found between August 8 and August 21. The BMC officials said Veena Geet Sangeet Housing Complex in Kandivali West has six active cases. On August 16, the BMC organised a special camp and tested 34 residents, of which, three were found to be positive.
The orphanage is more than 100 years old and is looked after by the St Joseph High School management which is on the same premises. It has 95 residents, including 34 girls.