The Bharuch district administration has closed the 200-bed civil hospital on Saturday, after seven staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The administration is in the process of collecting the samples of over 250 staff members attached to the civil hospital. The OPD has been shifted to Sevashram hospital located in the vicinity of the civil hospital.
District Collector M D Modhiya said the decision to temporarily shut the civil hospital was taken after the count of COVID-19 positive staff members went up to seven. At first, two nurses tested positive on April 15. On Thursday and Friday, five others tested positive, including a doctor, three lab technicians and the female guard on duty at the isolation ward.
“We took the decision to shift the OPD to the Sevashram hospital. We don’t have any indoor patients. We will sanitise the entire premises and test the staff for COVID-19. If all the samples from now are negative, we can think of reopening after following the protocol of quarantine. The total staff strength is 250 at all levels. For now, the Sevashram hospital is helping with the OPD. Their doctors are treating the patients,” Modhiya said.
The collector added that while all staff members were armed with precautionary gear and given PPE suits, the chances of contracting the virus could be because of wrong hygiene habits.
“We are not sure how this happened when they have been given adequate safety gear as well as PPE suits. They were all trained in advance as well. But it could be that they didn’t follow instructions of safety or exposed themselves to the virus outside their duty hours. The three lab technicians were of course collecting all samples so they were highly exposed,” Modhiya said.
A 26-year-old neighbour of the nurses has also tested positive. The total tally in Bharuch is at 21.
A 38-year-old in charge nurse of the COVID-19 ward has tested positive in Vadodara, leading to the Gotri GMERS quarantining at least seven nurses from the ward and causing anxiety among other staff members.
According to Dr Minoo Patel, honorary advisor of the GMERS COVID-19 facility, the decision to quarantine the frontline staff is of course affecting the functioning.
“We do have enough strength to deal with the situation. But this is draining our resources obviously. Three doctors of the casualty ward are also in quarantine after they realised that they were exposed to a few patients who tested positive,” Patel said.
Patel said that the hospital has procured 3,500 PPE kits and 3,000 N-95 masks for doctors, nurses and sanitation workers in the COVID-19 ICUs and wards.
GMERS will also start the process of setting up plasma therapy facility in Vadodara. “GMERS Gotri will develop the facility. Already had meeting with Indian Red Cross to develop SOP and give training to various stakeholders. The process of developing databank of COVID-19 recovered people and the process for obtaining their consent to donate plasma has been started,” Vinod Rao, OSD for COVID-19, said.