The number of coronavirus cases in Jammu and Kashmir rose to 67 on Thursday after five more people tested positive for the disease. Three of the five had come in contact with a doctor who was part of the Government Medical College’s Microbiology Department team collecting samples of COVID-19 cases. The other two hailed from Udhampur district and had been in contact with coronavirus patients, said Bhupinder Kumar, Director National Health Mission, J&K.
All the patients were hospitalised at GMC Hospital in Jammu, Kumar added.
The cases in the UT included 50 in Kashmir and 17 in Jammu province.
A doctor had tested positive for the disease last Monday, after which his parents, wife and a domestic help were put in a government quarantine facility in Jammu. Relatives alleged their samples were collected only on Wednesday.
Barring his mother, the other three tested positive for coronavirus and were shift to the hospital last night. His father is 75-years-old.
Relatives also claimed the doctor’s mother was left behind at the quarantine facility after testing negative despite her old age and multiple ailments.
Except for a police sub inspector, who happened to be her nephew, there was no doctor or para medical staff to look after the elderly woman, who has one kidney and has undergone a bypass heart surgery in the past, a relative said.
Before leaving for the hospital, the doctor’s wife alleged that her husband had got infected at his work place as he was not provided the PPG. She also accused the health officials of not taking their samples on time and thereby, delaying their treatment by three days.
Bhupinder Kumar, Director National Health Mission, J&K, and Head of GMC’s Microbiology Department, claimed that PPG was provided to all those dealing with coronavirus cases. He added that the government was adhering to all protocols and that the doctors and other staff dealing with active cases were provided rooms in hotels to rest after duty hours.
However, a senior doctor who did not wished to be named, said the measures were taken only after the microbiology’ assistant professor had tested positive on Monday. Till then, he and his staff were returning home after the shift.
Another doctor said that PPG and other safety kits like masks, sanitisers, etc were still not available to most medical professionals. In this connection, he referred to a letter by Commissioner of Secretary Health and Medical Education Department, Atal Dulloo to concerned officials, which said that “health care professionals at many places are complaining of non-availability of PPGs to look after patients suffering from Covid-19”.
Following demands for accommodation for staff members, Dulloo directed all the heads of Health and Medical Education Department “to ensure the safety of health care professionals, who are an important resource of the J&K government and are working very hard to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic situation”.
“The PPGs for health care professionals shall be arranged by the Heads of the Institutions and provided to them to protect them from cross infection,” the letter read.
Dulloo also asked officials to make arrangements for stay of doctors and staff members treating Covid-19 patients, adding that they shall put up their requisitions to the respective Divisional Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir provinces for making such arrangements immediately. “The matter may kindly be treated as most urgent,’’ the letter read.
If such is the situation, the government shall initiate an inquiry as to where the already requisitioned PPGs and other material like masks, sanitizers have gone, a doctor said, on the condition of anonymity.
Of the 70 cases reported in Jammu and Kashmir, 65 are active, three persons have recovered and one have died so far, UT government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said. The first Covid-19 patient from Kashmir has fully recovered and has been discharged from the hospital, he added.
Kansal advised people not to panic as the prevention, containment and management of Covid-19 in the region is being monitored at the highest level and all the necessary action have been taken by the government in this regard.
Till date, 17,677 travellers and people who came in contact with suspected/positive cases, have been put under surveillance. A total of 10,694 have been kept under home quarantine, 65 in hospital isolation, 622 in hospital quarantine and 4,109 in home surveillance. While 2,187 have completed their 28-day surveillance period, 1,010 have tested negative while 1,084 samples have been sent for testing.
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