With 58 health workers testing Covid-19 positive, Naveen Patnaik warns about infection control
On Tuesday, three senior resident doctors from surgery, pathology and pharmacology and a junior doctor from the dermatology department of AIIMS Bhubaneswar had tested positive for Covid-19 even though they were not engaged in the coronavirus ward.Updated: Jun 10, 2020 22:56 IST
A day after four doctors at AIIMS Bhubaneswar tested positive for Covid-19 taking the total number of infected doctors in the state to 14, chief minister Naveen Patnaik sounded a warning saying frontline health workers getting infected pointed at a probable breach in maintaining infection control practices.
On Tuesday, three senior resident doctors from surgery, pathology and pharmacology and a junior doctor from the dermatology department of AIIMS Bhubaneswar had tested positive for Covid-19 even though they were not engaged in the coronavirus ward. Three senior residents of AIIMS were home quarantined in their apartments for the last week after the area was declared a containment zone by the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.
“I am distressed to note that over the past few weeks there have been instances of health workers getting infected with Covid-19. This points to a probable breach in maintaining infection control practices. I would like to emphasize again that you are the strength of the people in this long war. Please first ensure your safety and the safety of your team,” said Patnaik, while attending a technical workshop for health personnel.
Two days ago, four anesthesiologists in MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur town had tested positive for Covid-19 while two doctors at Rourkela General Hospital too contacted the virus. One each in Cuttack, Nayagarh and Angul district too have tested positive in the last fortnight.
Apart from them, 13 nurses including 8 in MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur town have tested Covid-19 positive so far. Apart from them, other frontline health workers, such as ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, sanitary staff, teachers engaged in quarantine centres as well as sarpanch in-charge of these centres are increasingly testing positive.
Officials said 58 health professionals, including doctors and 48 non-health workers including a sarpanch and teachers working at quarantine centres have been infected.
The Odisha Medical Services Association, a body of serving doctors in government hospitals of the state, alleged that doctors and nurses deployed at non-Covid-19 hospitals are working in risky conditions without personal protective equipment. OMSA president Dr Narayan Rout demanded that all medical staff should be provided at least five N95 masks per week apart from adequate PPE.
“It is now essential that these protocols continue to be meticulously followed by you, to prevent infection amongst our valuable frontline workers and to maintain the faith of the people in our health institutions,” said Patnaik in his appeal to frontline workers.
The CM’s warning came on a day when the state reported 110 new cases, taking the total tally in the state to 3,250. Out of the 110 new cases, 97 were reported from quarantine centres while 13 are local contacts. The infected people include one staff from a private hospital in Bhubaneswar.
The chief minister who over last week enforced weekend shutdown in 11 districts that are seeing rising Covid-19 cases, said his government has taken extensive measures for training of personnel and purchase of required consumables, for personal protection of healthcare workers.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that infection control measures and personal protection protocols are scrupulously followed in health facilities and by healthcare workers in the field,” he said.
The CM also directed the health department to begin door-to-door integrated health surveillance for Covid-19, co-morbid conditions, TB, malaria and diarrhoea in view of the ensuing rainy season.
The state government, meanwhile, approved payment of incentive to the contractual, out-sourced and volunteer health care people working to contain Covid-19. The incentive would be equivalent to the consolidated basic remuneration of a month excluding allowances or perks or taxes.