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COVID-19: Tamil Nadu struggles to contain transmission as doctors, patients get infected

Health officials have so far closed down eight hospitals across the State after doctors there tested positive.

Published: 20th April 2020 02:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2020 08:14 AM   |  A+A-

A technician working in the lab at SITRA in Coimbatore on Sunday. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI/COIMBATORE: Health officials are now a worried lot with the recent cases of infection spreading at hospitals among patients and doctors.

With cases being reported in Chennai and Coimbatore where patients admitted with other ailments are testing positive, the safety of doctors, health professional and patients is at risk.

Health officials say they are struggling to break the chain of transmission. 

In one of the cases, an elderly woman who came to get treated for kidney problems at Chennai’s Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

It is suspected that she contracted an infection from a doctor who was treating her. The doctor, in turn, is suspected to have got the virus from a patient he was treating.

An official source said, "A patient with heart problems recently died at the hospital and the doctor was treating him. This is suspected to be the source of infection."

In a more scary case, a woman who volunteered to donate part of her liver for her one-and-half-year-old child tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday at a private hospital in Chrompet.

"The woman was otherwise healthy. As a precautionary measure, the hospital performed a COVID-19 test and she tested positive. However, the child tested negative," a senior Health Department official told Express.

The officials could not trace the source of infection for the woman. The incident made the hospital authorities to send all healthcare professionals in the ward for home quarantine. The block was also closed and disinfected.

Similarly, three persons, including a 12-day-old child, tested positive for COVID-19 at the maternity ward of Government District Headquarters Hospital in Pollachi on Sunday. While the mother of the child tested negative, an attender of another patient in the same ward tested positive. The third patient was a 25-year-old woman from Valparai, who recently delivered a baby through c-section. Her samples were collected when she was admitted to the hospital.

A senior Health Department official said it is a matter of worry that doctors and patients are contracting an infection at hospitals.

"This is worrying because it is not related to those who attended the Delhi conference and their contacts. The chain is continuing and we are struggling to break it. Acquiring infection at hospitals is common when such an infectious disease is spreading. So, people should avoid visiting hospitals for non-emergency issues."

Some hospitals in the State have been closed after doctors there started testing positive.

"Till date, the officials have closed down eight hospitals across the State after a doctor there tested positive. These doctors were treating fever cases, who later tested positive," said CN Raja, president, Indian Medical Association, Tamil Nadu branch.

Health Department sources said doctors, nurses and staff at Government District Headquarters Hospital in Pollachi were screened using rapid testing kits on Sunday.

A few healthcare workers at the maternity ward have also been isolated.

(Inputs from Deepak Sathish, Coimbatore)

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