The death of a 46-year-old clerk working with Panchmahals forest department, who tesed positive for Covid-19 after his cremation, has authorities on their toes after his body was sent with his relatives who held his last rites, reportedly in the presence of a huge gathering.
Over 200 people who are suspected to have come in contact with the patient have been traced from two districts. Contact tracing is also under way at GMERS where the patient was brought in from Godhra Civil Hospital with myocardial infarction (heart attack) on Friday before he died.
Authorities at the Vadodara Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society (GMERS) Gotri Covid hospital where the patient died said they were not aware that he was a suspected Covid patient. However, Godhra Civil Hospital where his samples were collected for testing, claimed that they had informed GMERS about him being a suspected case of Covid-19.
“From the Civil Hospital Godhra, a written and a verbal intimation was made regarding his underlining conditions and his samples being collected, results of which were awaited,” said Dr Surendra Jain, Chief District Health Officer, Panchmahals district.
Superintendent of GMERS Vadodara said the patient arrived at the non-Covid area of the hospital where he died even before admission. “The patient came here with a heart attack and died immediately after. We were not informed that he was a Covid suspected case. We wrapped him as per protocol but since the samples were not collected from here, we did not inform the police. Ideally they are not allowed to carry the body of a Covid patient or a suspected case,” said Dr Vishala Pandaya, Medical Supe-rintendent of GMERS. Despite repeated attempts, the family was unavailable for comment.
The forest department clerk was admitted at the Civil Hopsital Godhra with liver ailments and hypertension. On Friday afternoon, he developed Covid symptoms. He was shifted after his samples were collected for tesing and his report came positive on Saturday evening.
His body was then taken to Mota Sonela in Lunawada taluka of Mahisagar district for final rites. According to villagers, around 100 people gathered for the rites. A close contact of the family, on condition of anonymity, told this newspaper, “People from even nearby villages gathered for the funeral.”
Sub-disrict magistrate of Lunawada, BB Modiya, said that the health department was tracing his close contacts. “We are investigating the number of people who attended the funeral… If it is more than 20, which is a violation of the lockdown guidelines, we will take action.”
Both the Panchmahals and Mahisagar district administrations have started extensive contact tracing of the man. “We have formed five teams. Over 100 people have been advised home quarantine already,” Dr Jain said.
In Mahisagar, around 150 have been traced and home quarantined. “They will be observed and samples will be collected after three days,” said Dr SB Shah, CDHO Mahisagar.
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