After a nurse and a technician from Breach Candy Hospital tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), the hospital authorities on Tuesday initiated testing for all the staffers. Officials from the BMC said they were awaiting test results before they decide to declare the hospital in South Mumbai a containment zone.
This is the fourth private hospital in Mumbai that has concerns of possible transmission among nurses. In the last one week, Wockhardt hospital, Jaslok hospital and Sai hospital have been declared containment zones after the number of COVID-19 cases rose. A containment zone bars entry and exit of normal population to limit the spread of the infection.
At Breach Candy hospital, the first person to test positive was a technician, who also works at Saifee hospital. He had facilitated a CT scan for an 85-year-old surgeon at Saifee without knowing he was COVID-19 positive. The surgeon died and all his close contacts, including the technician, were tested. After he tested positive, a nursing staff member at Breach Candy also started showing symptoms. On April 4, she developed cough, throat pain and fever. The hospital took her swab and sent her back to the hostel, where she shares a room with two other nurses.
On Monday, the nurse was suffering from high fever and was moved to the hospital’s ward. It is suspected that the technician, a resident of Worli Koliwada, also spread the infection in his neighbourhood.
The hospital’s nurses have alleged that they were not informed that the nurse had tested positive and several nurses, in close contact with her, may have been infected in the last few days.
On Tuesday, other nurses demanded quarantine and testing for all staffers. Until Tuesday, the hostel or the hospital ward where the COVID-infected nurse was posted had not been fumigated.
A BMC official said the civic body was not informed about a COVID-19 positive case at Breach Candy hospital. “We only know about the technician. Our team will visit the hospital and direct it to test all staffers and hostel inmates,” the civic official added.
A senior doctor from the hospital said when the nurse developed symptoms on April 4, multiple tests and clinical examination were done before she was sent back to her hostel. The doctor said a protocol of triage (to assign degree of urgency) was followed in her case, and on Monday, her test came out to be positive.
“The minute we got the report from the government laboratory, she was brought to the hospital for further treatment and isolation,” the doctor said, adding that the hospital was following all measures to protect doctors, nurses and staffers. Swabs will be taken of all staffers to assess how many have been infected by the virus.
In Mumbai, over 65 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, paramedics and Class IV employees, have tested positive for coronavirus. Maximum are from Wockhardt hospital where 54 staffers have tested positive.
On Tuesday, Joy hospital in Chembur was handed over to the BMC to admit and treat COVID-19 patients. Dr Roy Patankar, director, said, “The BMC has started new admissions from today. It’s our responsibility towards our nation, our people, to help the government in this crucial time.”
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