A 27-year-old staffer in a city hotel, who was placed in quarantine at the hotel after developing COVID-19 symptoms, left for his village in Osmanabad even as his test results were awaited.
His test results now positive, Osmanabad district officials are scrambling to track the 490-km journey he undertook on road and the people he met along the way.
Osmanabad officials said the hotel and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should have monitored him after he developed symptoms. As per protocol, each person under quarantine is regularly checked over phone or by a personal visit by a government health worker to ensure compliance of quarantine rules.
The BMC says the hotel had taken on the responsibility for keeping the employee quarantined on its premises. The hotel did not respond to calls.
The 27-year-old was in the housekeeping department. He developed symptoms in the last week of March, days after a security guard in the hotel also tested positive. Officials said at least six in close contact with the guard were quarantined.
When the staffer developed a cough, his throat and nasal swab was taken by a private laboratory at the behest of the hotel management. The BMC was duly informed. A local ward officer said they visited the hotel and were informed that the employees would be kept in a quarantine facility arranged by the hotel. He was shifted to a room with other staffers on March 28, a civic official said.
He left for Osmanabad on March 31 along with another staffer. “He said he took a lift multiple times and reached Osmanabad where he called a close friend to come pick him up,” said Dr HV Wadgave, district health officer. “He was not well and he was scared of coronavirus. He said he thought if he had to die he should be with his family,” said Wadgave.
In Lohara village, the 27-year-old visited two private doctors for treatment, an electrical shop, and a grocery. On April 2, his swab, taken for testing by private laboratory in Mumbai, tested positive for COVID-19. He was admitted in a district hospital in Osmanabad.
“He had no memory of the vehicle numbers that offered him a ride. He met a few people at the Vashi vegetable market. How do we trace these people?” Wadgave said.
So far, 10 close contacts of the staffer have been isolated, their swabs taken for coronavirus testing. These include members of his family, friend, colleague, and relatives who met him.
Dr Daksha Shah, deputy executive health officer, said that the staffer had no symptoms and was not under BMC’s list of quarantined people before he left Mumbai. “We also cannot track everyone 24×7, our health team is doing the best it can,” she said.
Samples of 200 sent for test
Mumbai: The BMC has taken swab samples of around 200 people who had come in contact with a 45-year-old tea vendor, who had tested positive for COVID-19, near Matoshree, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s residence, in Bandra East. The BMC sanitised the area Tuesday and declared it a containment zone.
The tea stall was frequently visited by many policemen and other security staff posted at Matoshree. BMC is awaiting their test reports, which are expected to come Wednesday. All those been tested have been kept in quarantine at Uttar Bhartiya Sangh building in Bandra.
“We have taken samples of around 200 people who had visited the tea stall,” said Daksha Shah, Deputy Executive Health officer of BMC. The tests reports of two workers at the tea stall are also yet to come. The two, along with the tea vendor, have been admitted at HBT hospital in Jogeshwari. Officials said all high- and low-risk contacts are being traced.
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