Eight doctors and 14 nurses have tested positive for Covid-19 at YCM Hospital, the dedicated Covid hospital run by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).
Among the doctors who tested positive is professor Pravin Soni, in-charge of the hospital’s Department of Medicine. For the last four months, Prof Soni, who headed a team of doctors, has been treating patients at the hospital without a break, said his colleagues.
The other doctors who tested positive include an associate professor, three resident doctors, two assistant professors and a paeditrician. Dr Laxman Gofane, who headed the Covid hospital in Bhosari run by PCMC, has also been undergoing treatment for the past one week after he tested positive.
Dr Gofane was first admitted to Bhosari Hospital and then to YCMH. “After his condition deteriorated, his family shifted him to Deenanath Mangeshkar hospital in Pune city. He is on oxygen support. He has been constantly working at Bhosari Hospital since it was set up in April. His team handled several patients who recovered from Covid-19,” said Dr Rajendra Wable, dean of YCM Hospital and Medical College.
Dr Wable said at least 14 nurses have tested positive. “Some of them have been admitted at YCM Hospital while the asymptomatic ones have been home isolated,” he said.
Prof Soni said, “I think I caught the infection from a friend whom I examined outside the hospital… I have no other symptoms and I am in home isolation.” He said he had even attended a webinar hosted by Pune Zilla Shikshan Prasarak Mandal. “I spoke about ways to deal with coronavirus, which was much appreciated by the attendees,” said Prof Soni.
At YCM Hospital, the administration has been struggling to get two ICUs functioning because of the shortage of doctors and nurses. At least 240 doctors and nurses are required to run the two ICUs, and advertisements seeking applications for the posts have already been issued by PCMC.
Dr Wable said with so many doctors and nurses falling ill, the non-availability of doctors will remain a matter of concern. “Right now, we are managing the show… we hope we don’t come to a situation where things break down completely, with crucial medical staff becoming unavailable after testing positive,” he said. The administration said the hospital’s medical staff has to undergo a compulsory Covid-19 test after every few days.
Dr Wable said it is difficult to ascertain how the doctors and nurses caught the infection. “They keep going home and returning… in the hospital, they follow all the protocols. It is difficult to pinpoint where they caught the infection,” he said.
Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said at least 50 employees of PCMC, including senior officers and engineers, have tested positive till now. “Some have recovered, some have been hospitalised and others home-isolated,” he said. Two PCMC employees, a deputy accountant and a teacher, have succumbed to the infection.
Meanwhile, civic activists have decided to stage a demonstration at Pimpri chowk on Thursday to protest against the PCMC’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
Containment zones to be declared after 5 cases
The PCMC administration has decided to to do away with the norm of setting up containment zones after one positive case is reported in an area. “We will now set up a containment zone only after five positive cases are detected,” the PCMC chief said. The administration, which has faced manpower shortage, has been struggling to set up containment zones. “Every day, over cases are being detected. In such a situation, it is difficult to set up 500 containment zones,” said a civic official.
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