EDMC health worker dies of suspected Covid, another tests positive

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Published on Apr 21, 2020 10:51 PM IST
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ByBaishali Adak, New Delhi

A 52-year-old woman sanitation worker of the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) died of a heart attack Tuesday at the Lok Nayak hospital, but doctors suspect that she may been suffering from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Her Covid-19 test results are yet to arrive.

EDMC spokesperson Arun Kumar said, “We have been told that she had suffered a heart attack at the LN Hospital Tuesday and died, but her final Covid test reports are yet to arrive. So we can’t be sure of any underlying reasons for the heart attack she suffered.”

Neither the area district magistrate nor the LN hospital authorities was able to confirm the development.

However, the 52-year-old woman’s husband, over the phone, said, “We have been verbally told that she had contracted the coronavirus infection. We are not being handed over the body and have been told to reach the Nigambodh Ghat directly for her last rites. The doctors also said only a maximum of four people can be at the crematorium and a team of doctors will be there to supervise the last rites. She was only given a mask by EDMC to carry out her duties -- she did not even have gloves on.”

Also, on Tuesday, a 35-year-old co-worker of the dead woman was Tuesday admitted to the Lok Nayak hospital after she tested positive for Covid-19. Officials said she works in the Dharampura area of Shahdara.

EDMC officers said they were perplexed about how the two women could have contracted the disease when “they were not engaged in serving in or near quarantine centres or homes”.

“As far as picking up garbage from quarantine homes is concerned, a special team -- whose members have been provided full personal protective equipment, including hazmat suits, masks, boots and gloves -- is doing it. These two women were only engaged in sweeping roads,” a senior health official of EDMC, who did not wish to be named, said.

“However, we have started taking all precautionary steps such as spraying disinfectant in and around their homes. We are also working with the area district surveillance officer (DSO) to trace contacts of these women and sent all the women safai karmacharis, who worked with these two women, on leave,” the municipal health official said.

Meanwhile, leaders of both the north and south Delhi municipal corporations wrote to the additional secretary in the Union health ministry to include municipal sanitation workers and anti-dengue/malaria workers in the national insurance scheme for health workers fighting Covid-19

South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) former mayor Narendra Chawla said, “Our workers are risking their lives every day. The least they deserve is a proper health insurance cover.”

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