An employee of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Gujarat refinery in Undera in Vadodara, who tested positive for COVID-19 on April 24 and undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Vadodara, has not found place in the coronavirus tally of the state. The employee, an engineering assistant at the refinery’s effluent treatment plant, has left the administrations of two cities passing the buck on to each other for the missed detail.
The 40-year-old employee tested positive for COVID-19 in Vadodara after he felt uneasy and reported symptoms to the refinery hospital, from where he was referred for COVID testing on April 24. However, his name was not included in the list of patients in Vadodara as the administration cited the “state protocol” of counting a positive case in the list of the location where he lived for a majority of the immediately preceding fortnight.
The employee, who is a resident of Vadodara and came to the IOCL facility only a couple of days before he tested positive, was considered a resident of Ahmedabad although he had been shuttling between two cities, sources said.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), however, doesn’t own this case and has no mention of the man on its list of 4,716 COVID-19 patients till May 6. Medical Officer of the civic body’s health department, Bhavin Solanki said, “The patient is registered as a case based on where the sample is being taken from. So if the sample was taken from VMC, the case should be ideally registered there. Ideally, once the sample is taken, the patient should not be allowed to move.”
JD Desai, member of the administrative team, in charge of positive cases and laboratory reporting in the state, said, “Central government guideline says to count a patient in the jurisdiction where he is a resident of, and the logic behind that is based on contact tracing.”
The officials of the Health Department of the VMC, said that they had intimated the AMC to include the patient in its list on April 24. “The protocol of the state government is very clear about the patient being included in the city where they reside and where they have been for the maximum time in the preceding fortnight when they tested positive. We have quarantined the other staff of the refinery and completed the contact tracing of this patient. It’s in the AMC’s court now,” a senior officer of the VMC said.
The IOCL, in its statement on April 24, said, “The refinery management has taken quick action for contact tracing of employees and workers who might have come in contact with the employee… IOCL is in constant touch with the state and district authorities to ensure safety during this crisis…”
Mehsana district’s first case, a 52-year-man, was detected and treated in Gandhinagar where he was working at a government health facility for several months. However, owing to his residential address of Mehsana, the case was recorded in Mehsana.
On April 27, the state notified a case in Jamnagar, the first for the district. Later, the government release rectified the location of the case to be that of Ahmedabad city as the patient was settled in Ahmedabad.
There are three Delhi residents in VMC list — two journalists and their driver — who came to Vadodara in April end and tested positive. Health officer Dr Devesh Patel said that the intimation has been sent to their home state and the names will be removed from the list once they are discharged from hospital in Vadodara.
Prakash Vaghela, Joint Director, Gujarat Health and Family Welfare Department, who is also part of the state team handling positive cases and laboratory reporting, explains that the positive case is counted in the list of the city of his official residential address.
There are exceptions in the protocol, especially for those who are on special duties. Vaghela says, “If personnel from other states are deployed in Gujarat and test positive here, they will be included in the COVID-19 count of the state of Gujarat… If a migrant tests positive after reaching their destination from Gujarat, they will be counted in their home state.”
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