CHENNAI: Triggering fresh concerns of a new COVID cluster, 40 persons, including 33 children, tested positive at a private orphanage at Uthiramerur in Kancheepuram on Sunday. According to Health Department officials, the home has 105 inmates and the source of infection was a caretaker, who tested positive a week ago.
Initially, four children tested positive on Saturday. After that, the officials carried out saturation test on the remaining children and other inmates. Among the tested, results of 33 children and seven adults returned positive on Sunday.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Deputy Director of Health Services, Kancheepuram district, Dr VK Palani said, "They all are asymptomatic and have been shifted to Government Kancheepuram Headquarters Hospital. They are under isolation."
Other inmates who tested negative have been shifted to other places and the orphanage has been shut. The positive patients are in the age group of 9-18, Dr Palani said. Meanwhile, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said, "We have instructed the officials to collect random samples for genome sequencing analysis."
The new cluster emerged even as the State government has started work in developing infrastructure and treatment protocol for treating paediatric cases as the experts believe more children will be affected in the third wave.
The Health Department gave instructions to open a special COVID ward for children with ICU and ventilators as a precautionary measure in all government hospitals. The State is also sending samples to InSTEM, Bengaluru for genome sequencing to know the variant in circulation for better control and preventive measures.