Covid-19: Odisha govt official reveals identity of patient, asks contacts to quarantine themselves

Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | ByDebabrata Mohanty
Apr 03, 2020 12:30 AM IST

As a precautionary measure, 13 members of the patient’s family have been kept in isolation.

Over fears of a Covid-19 patient triggering community transmission, the Odisha government on Thursday broke its own norms of not revealing the identity of coronavirus patients as it named the fifth person in the state who tested positive.


Bhubaneswar Municipal Commissioner Prem Chandra Chaudhury identified the patient who hails from the posh Surya Nagar area of the city and appealed to the people to quarantine themselves if they had come in contact with the person after March 1.

“The man is mentally retarded and for last 3 months he has not gone anywhere except to some local hospitals for treatment. He is diabetic and has other co-morbidity conditions like hypertension when he was admitted to AIIMS Bhubaneswar on March 31 following problems in respiration. He has no records of travel. As there is no other known way of finding out how he contacted the virus, we have issued an appeal to people to inform us and go on quarantine,” said Chaudhury.

Health and family welfare department of Odisha said the 60-year-old man first consulted a doctor in a private clinic in Bhubaneswar on March 5 and again consulted him on March 12. On March 27, he consulted a doctor in the OPD of a major private hospital after he experienced problems in breathing. The next day he went to OPD of AIIMS Bhubaneswar over same issues. As his respiratory problems persisted, he got admitted to casualty of AIIMS on March 31 where doctors suspected him to be suffering from Coronavirus.

After his sample came positive on April 1, the the municipal authorities this evening sealed the area where the person lived with 13 others in his family. All his family members have been isolated. Apart from his 13 family members, 8 others the person came in contact with have been asked to go on quarantine for the next 14 days. The officials, however, allayed fears of community transmission of coronavirus beginning in Odisha as the patient had no record of travel.

AIIMS Bhubaneswar acting medical superintendent, Jawahar Pillay said the patient is on ventilator.

State government spokesperson on Covid-19, Subroto Bagchi also appealed people that if they have symptoms of the disease, they need not hide it. Bagchi said that many people were hiding the fact though they know that they have coronavirus symptoms.

“And they are doing it out of fear. The person who avoided our phone call for 48 times did it out of fear. Tell your family and neighbours that if you feel you have coronavirus symptoms, do not hide it. Come out bold, your candidness will save you; your family, the society, the race will remain ever grateful to you,” said Bagchi.

The revelation of the identity of the patient has come at a time when the state government has lodged cases against people for trying to reveal the identity of the infected persons. In Bhadrak district, police on Wednesday arrested 3 persons for revealing the identity of a 29-year-old chef working in Dubai who tested positive on March 31.

Officials have identified 33 people who came in contact with the youth after he landed in Kolkata by an Emirates flight from Dubai and then took a train ride to Bhadrak on March 19. Though the man had quarantined himself after arrival at home, he is believed to have come in close contact with at least 25 people in train apart from 6 in his family and neighbourhood. Though the youth did not show any symptoms of the disease, he was tested as per government protocol of testing of all 4300 people who have returned from abroad after March 4.

In a related development on Thursday, Odisha’s second coronavirus patient, a 19-year-old youth who had returned from UK and tested positive on March 20 was discharged from AIIMS Bhubaneswar. “The second Covid-19 positive case has completely recovered and tested negative for the virus,” said a health department official.

Also on Thursday, two standalone Covid-19 speciality hospitals with a total capacity of 650 started functioning in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. The first one is a 500 isolation bed facility in KIMS Bhubaneswar and the second one is at Ashwini Hospital in Cuttack with a 150 isolation beds. The State government earlier announced that patients would get free treatment along with free food and rent-free stay in these hospitals. The next Covid-19 hospital in SUM Hospital would have 500 isolation beds.

While the state raced to build more isolation facilties for Covid-19 patients, Odisha has urged the centre to immediately send personal protective equipment (PPE) like Hazmat suits and masks as well as coronavirus testing kits.

In a letter to Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Odisha health minister Naba Kishore Das said there is acute shortage of testing kits in the State which are essential for detection and treatment of the deadly virus.

“Adequate ventilators, PPEs, masks, sanitisers may kindly be provided to important district headquarter hospitals including Rourkela General Hospital for better treatment of Coronavirus patients. The testing facilities may be extended to MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur and VIMSAR, Burla for testing more and more suspected patients of other parts of the State,” Das wrote in his letter on April 1. Due to lack of adequate testing kits, till April 2, Odisha has been able to test only 1113 samples.

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