A day after a 54-year-old man without any travel history from packed cluster of Nagarwada in the old city area of Vadodara tested positive for COVID-19, two more positive cases from the neighborhood have been reported Monday. With this, the officials suspect that the city has reached the stage of community transmission.
On Monday, two persons aged 15 and 27 tested positive, after being admitted to the GMERS facility in Gotri.
Administration officials said that reports of two other samples from the same area have also been sent for reconfirmation.
Dr Devesh Patel, Health Officer, VMC said that the 27-year-old man was the son of the positive patient, who seems to have contracted the virus as he was close to the patient.
“He was asymptomatic but he has tested positive for COVID-19. We are ascertaining the history of the 15-year-old boy, who was also admitted to the hospital on Sunday after he showed symptoms. He was not in contact with these patients although he lives in the same neighbourhood. Since the father and son also do not have a travel history, we are yet to find out the source,” Patel said.
The emergence of cases without travel history has left administration facing at the most possible theory of community transmission of the virus. The 54-year-old had been volunteering in food distribution to hospitals in the city before he showed symptoms.
In a first, the VMC also released a list of 19 persons who have come in contact with the 54-year-old positive patient from Nagarwada.
While five of these 19 persons are his family members, five others were part of the group distributing food packets in the city’s hospitals. Five men on the list are those who attended a Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Haryana and returned on March 30.
Officer on Special Duty Vinod Rao said that the presence of neighbours with travel history to the Jamaat meetings could be the most possible source of the virus.
Rao, who ordered the entire neighbourhood to be cordoned off and declared a red zone on Sunday, said, “There are neighbours from the area who were in touch with the positive patients, after visiting the Jamaat meetings. We know that the positive case from Bodeli taluka of Chhota Udepur reported on Saturday also attended the Markaz gathering. Similarly, the 78-year-old man from Godhra who passed away in Vadodara on Friday had no travel history. In many cases seen so far across the globe, there have been people who have been infected by the virus but have mild or no symptoms at all. But these people could infect others with less immunity. It is possible that such a transmission has happened in this case as well. The coming fortnight will be a challenge for us. While we have flattened the curve, we know that we are staring at the possibility of a surge in the cases such that the facilities set up for isolation could be packed soon.”
In the last two days, the Vadodara heath department has sent 152 samples for testing, a release by the office of district collector said.
The VMC had moved 50 persons to the GMERS hospital in Gotri on Sunday night for mass sampling and 69 samples were sent Sunday while 83 were sent Monday. The samples also include of those who were fed by the patient outside SSG hospital and other areas. Of the 80, 23 samples were collected in the morning. Of the 69 samples which were sent Sunday, 64 were negative while two had tested positive and results of the rest are awaited. However, SSG hospital has denied that the family served meals to any patients in the wards and on the campus.
Meanwhile, the state health department has identified 30 health centres across the state including three in Vadodara to train multipurpose workers to use ventilators as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state see a rise. Use of ventilators is crucial in the treatment of any COVID-19 patient, with breathlessness as a major symptom. The Ajwa state health and family welfare institute has been chosen as the nodal centre for training. At the three centres in Vadodara, including SSG and Gotri, 1020 persons from various districts are being trained to use ventilators. So far, 1441 medical officers, 364 Ayush medical officers, 193 dentists and 2576 physiotherapists and nurses have undergone the training.
As many as 223 residents of Vadodara who had returned from abroad have completed their quarantine period. A total of 586 people including 22 foreign nationals had returned to Vadodara from abroad and were placed under home quarantine.
One more death
The second death due to COVID-19 in Vadodara was reported on Monday. A 62-year-old woman, who had been on ventilator support for over two weeks, breathed her last at SSG hospital.
The woman was part of the group that had toured Sri Lanka earlier in March.
A couple from this group had also tested positive — the 52-year-old man had passed away on April 1 while his wife recovered and was discharged on Saturday.
Three other members of the couple’s family including their son, daughter, and daughter-in-law, who is in her advanced pregnancy, were also discharged.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines