Auto driver who fell from jackfruit tree tests COVID-19 positive in Kerala

Health officials not able to find contacts or source as the patient is on a ventilator after fall leaves him quadriplegic

Published: 25th May 2020 12:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2020 12:03 PM   |  A+A-

Coronavirus, Bhubaneshwar

A medic works on a sample for COVID-19 rapid test center. (File photo| Biswanath Swain, EPS)

By Express News Service

KASARGOD: Of the 32 active cases of COVID-19 in Kasaragod now, health officials in Kasaragod are racking their brains over one case.

A 42-year-old autorickshaw driver of Kodom-Bellur panchayat tested positive for COVID-19 when he was admitted with spinal injuries to Kannur Medical College Hospital in Pariyaram. 

Officials are baffled because the panchayat had no virus patient before this case, and the patient did not have any history of interstate or foreign travel history.

On May 23, two persons, including the autorickshaw driver, from Kodom Bellur panchayat tested positive for COVID. The other person, a 32-year-old man, arrived from Dubai and was admitted to an institutional quarantine facility.

The autorickshaw driver's case has put the health officials in a spot. They are not able to speak to him because he is on a ventilator.

On the morning of April 19, the driver climbed a jackfruit tree to pick fruit. But the jackfruit fell on his head and he fell from the tree, said his family. He was first taken to the Kasaragod District Hospital in Kanhangad, which referred him to Kannur Medical College Hospital.

The fall caused severe injuries to his spine and paralysed his four limbs, said Pariyaram medical college superintendent K Sudeep. "His condition is serious and we have put him on a ventilator," he said.

As part of the standard protocol, the hospital tested his swab and found him to be COVID positive, he said.
The hospital has a dedicated operation theatre for COVID patient but he is yet to undergo surgery.

18 in quarantine

The health officials spoke to the autorickshaw driver's family and friends and identified 18 primary contacts, said district medical officer DrA V Ramdas. "They are not showing any symptoms but we have put in quarantine," he said.

But the full extent of his contacts, and importantly the source of his infection could not be identified, he said.

The patient has an elderly mother, wife, and two school-going children at home. 

Even during the lockdown, he used to pick and drop the owner of a ration shop at Ayyankavu in Bellur, said his family.

After the restriction on autorickshaw was lifted, he used to take passengers. "But the family also does not know who the passengers were," said the district surveillance officer Dr A T Manoj. Officials are expecting the passengers would come forward and identify themselves.

On Sunday, the district had five more COVID positive cases. 

Two persons, aged 44 and 47 years from Paivalike panchayat; 41-year-old Kumbla; 32-year-old from Mangalpady; and 60-year-old from Vorkady. All of them came from Maharashtra.

More from Kerala.


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