ALIGARH: Twenty doctors and paramedics at the JLN Medical College at AMU here are being quarantined after a surgeon tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, senior officials said.
On Tuesday, 48 doctors and paramedics who had come in contact with a coronavirus patient were put in quarantine, severely hampering the functioning of the hospital which is one of the frontline hospitals for testing and treating COVID-19 patients in Uttar Pradesh.
A doctor in the department of surgery at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College hospital at Aligarh Muslim University tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, District Magistrate Chandra Bhushan Singh said.
According to the president of the hospital's Resident Doctors Association, Dr Hamza Malik, the junior doctor who has tested positive was "in no way connected to the coronavirus isolation ward and had contracted the virus three days ago while performing surgery on a supposedly non-coronavirus patient".
Officials said the patient from whom the surgeon contracted the virus was asymptomatic but it is now suspected that the patient has coronavirus and tests are being conducted to ascertain the same.
A hospital spokesperson told PTI that as a first step about 20 odd doctors and paramedics who had come in contact with the infected doctor are being quarantined.
The Resident Doctors Association has demanded that in view of Thursday's developments the hospital should be designated as a coronavirus-specific facility.
In a statement, Dr Malik said if there is no secure system for protecting doctors including regular supply of PPEs, then the junior doctors who are presently working "without any concern for their own safety round the clock on the frontline will have no option but to stop work".
He has demanded that issues related to problems of junior doctors should urgently be addressed so that the "ongoing efforts of medical professionals do not go in vain".
When contacted AMU spokesman Professor Shafay Kidwai told PTI, "We are fully aware of the commendable role played by the medical fraternity including the junior doctors".
He said the administration was addressing all their concerns but in the present circumstances it was not feasible to declare the hospital as a designated hospital just for coronavirus patients.
"This hospital is catering to patients from about half a dozen districts in western Uttar Pradesh and we simply cannot shut our doors to other serious patients.
Treating only COVID-19 patients would have serious implications for overall health services," Kidwai said.
He added that the hospital was working on an "emergency regimen" under which any patient who enters the hospital premises would immediately be screened for coronavirus before being sent to the casualty zone.
"By segregating normal patients from coronavirus suspects at the entry level we will be able to assure that there are no cross infections within the hospital complex," he said.
The additional district magistrate (city) R.K.Malpani told PTI, "We are reviewing the entire procedure for admitting patients with the medical college authorities to address the concerns arising from today's development. We will urgently put in place a suitable arrangement.
"This medical college is catering to such a large pool of patients that we cannot afford to limit its functioning just for coronavirus patients".
The district magistrate has urged the hospital staff to intensify precautionary measures for preventing the spread of this pandemic.
Meanwhile, the district and the hospital authorities have stepped up emergency damage control steps.
After Thursday's case, four COVID-19 positive patients have been identified in Aligarh city.
One patient who was admitted in an advanced state of COVID-19 infection died at the JL Nehru hospital on Tuesday.