PMC has abandoned contact tracing, allege Covid-19 positive patients
Covid-19 cases are rising in the city and the Pune Municipal Corporation seems to have abandoned contact tracing, allege Covid-19 positive patients who spoke to HT on the condition of anonymity.
The patients allege that there has been no attempt from private agencies or the PMC health department to seek their contact details and trace them. The patients claim that they called up people who had been in contact with them and asked them to get their Covid tests conducted voluntarily as a precautionary measure.
However, the civic administration refutes all charges. “We think our current contact tracing rate is satisfactory and we are going to increase it further in the coming days. We also have dedicated teams to trace patients with co-morbidities and senior citizens,” said Pune divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao. According to Rao, there are 540 such teams in Pune city and 2,700 teams in rural areas to trace co-morbid patients and senior citizens.
As per Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, the administration should ideally track down 15 contacts of any person who tests positive for Covid-19 . PMC’s contact tracing stands at 11.20 for every Covid positive person while for Pimpri-Chinchwad, it is 10 and 13 for rural areas, as of September 8.
Shraddha Shinde , a housewife, said, “I tested positive for Covid-19 on August 29 and PMC doctors asked me to opt for home isolation. The administration did not take any details (names, phone numbers or addresses) of who I had met, or contacted over the past week. The PMC health department has, since then, not called me even once to check up about my health status or contacts.”
Another 55-year-old woman lawyer, who is Covid-19 positive, lamented that the PMC was least interested in contact tracing. She said ,“The PMC health department staff ask questions like where are you staying , who is your care taker, who is your doctor and what is your address. All they do is sanitisation and that too after a lot of coaxing . They do not seek information for contact tracing. I tested positive on September 3 and the civic officials called me thrice seeking information about my residence- where I stay, if I have an independent staying arrangement or not. The officials came to visit me personally on the fifth day. First, they should trace all the people I had met. I must have come in contact with 15 people, but none of them have been traced by PMC till now. I contacted them and asked them to be alert about their health. If PMC conducts contact tracing properly, it can help in containing the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus which causes the Covid-19 infection.”
Calls to PMC commissioner Vikram Kumar were unattended and a text message, which was delivered and read, went answered.