Officials in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district and the adjoining Jogulamba Gadwal district in Telangana are trying to trace contacts of a 75-year-old doctor who died on April 14 and his samples later tested positive for COVID-19. The doctor, who founded a hospital in Kurnool town, died at Kurnool Government General Hospital a day after he was admitted with respiratory problems. He suffered a cardiac arrest on April 14 morning. His swab samples sent for testing the previous day tested positive on April 14 evening.
The hospital he founded is frequented by people from villages of Kurnool Rural and border villages of Jogulamba Gadwal district.
Officials have so far traced 213 people out of whom 13 have tested positive for COVID-19. Six family members, including his son, also a doctor, have tested positive. The doctor had reportedly treated one person who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Delhi and may have contracted the infection from that person, officials said.
Kurnool district has the highest number of cases in Andhra Pradesh — 184 — and 10 fresh cases were reported on Tuesday. In Jogulamba Gadwal, 30 cases were reported till April 20 and a 32-year-old man linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation died on April 17.
“After the doctor’s result came positive, we warned doctors, nurses, and staff at his hospital and sealed it. We came to know he met hundreds of patients who came from areas near his hospital. As Kurnool is nearer, some people from border villages of Jogulamba Gadwal in Telangana also visited the hospital. We have informed our counterparts there,’’ Special Officer Ajay Jain said.
Officials of Kurnool District Medical and Health Office said 40 people living in Budwarpeta, located behind the hospital, have been identified as working at the hospital. “Nine of them have tested positive. We have shifted over 50 patients at the hospital to a government facility. The doctor was not treating COVID-19 cases. We have traced 213 people so far who came in contact with him or visited the hospital. Of them, 13 tested positive. But these 213 people may have come in contact with at least a 1,000 others. We are trying to trace all,” the official said.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister B Rajendranath camped at Kurnool to take stock of the situation. Anticipating more cases, the state government issued an order Tuesday to convert Kurnool Government General Hospital into a state-level COVID-19 hospital.