The move comes a day after the Union health ministry issued a guidance to isolate Covid-19 patients with no or mild symptoms outside hospitals. This direction comes at a time when hospitals are turning into “hot spots” and healthcare professionals are getting infected. In Mumbai, after more than 100 staffers at Wockhardt Hospitals were found infected by the coronavirus, another hospital, Jaslok, said one of its nurses tested positive.
The hospital has since tested 1,005 of its staffers including doctors and residents, and 21 of them are found positive. Nineteen of the staffers are asymptomatic, while two have mild symptoms, Jaslok said. It has shifted four of these positive patients to the hospital’s dedicated Covid wards and the rest to government facilities treating the coronavirus infection in the city.
On Wednesday, two more hospitals — Bhatia Hospital in South Mumbai and Hinduja Hospital at Khar — have been put under lockdown along with several doctors, other staff and some patients. “Hospitals are currently becoming hot spots. So, it’s a good idea to admit patients in designated hospitals with specialised resources which will result in more effective utilisation of these resources.
More such facilities are required,” said Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis C-DOC (Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology) Hospital. In Delhi, efforts are ongoing to designate hospitals solely for patients with the coronavirus infection. This is part of a larger measure for control of infection in hospitals.
For example, the capital’s Lok Nayak, GB Pant and Rajiv Gandhi super specialty hospitals will be exclusively used for treating Covid-positive patients. The health ministry has found that nearly 70% of the patients currently affected by Covid-19 showed mild or very mild symptoms. “Such cases may not require admission to Covid-19 blocks/dedicated Covid-19 hospitals.
As the number of cases increases, it wouldbe important to appropriately prepare the health systems and use the existing resources judicially,” according to a note by the health ministry. The medical superintendent of Kasturba Hospital in Wardha, SP Kalantri, said lack of personal protective equipment and training in use of the gear was putting hospitals and their staff at risk.
It is impossible for hospitals to distinguish between a coronaviruspositive and negative patient, and it takes close to 72 hours for the test results to come. “So, the hospital has no idea about the status of this patient,” he said, adding that if he turned out to be Covid-19 positive, he would have already infected many healthcare workers caring for him. “So, I as a healthcare professional cannot ‘identify’ my enemy,” he said.