Union minister V Muraleedharan self quarantined as he attended a meeting with medics who had unknowingly worked with an infected medic
While a premier government hospital is on the verge of halting its operations after a medic was tested positive for Coronavirus, sources confirm that medics in another hospital have been sent on compulsory leave as they had reportedly treated a coronavirus patient, unknowingly.
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), the premier 253-bed tertiary referral centre for cardiovascular, thoracic and neurological diseases in Kerala, is likely to halt its patient care services as its senior medical practitioners and patients were exposed to a Coronavirus positive medic.
An official from Kerala information department said that 76 primary contacts have been quarantined and a list of secondary level contacts, the family members of the primary contacts, is being taken.
“Whether the SCTIMST will be shut down or not cannot be said now,” the source said.
The medic working in the SCTIMST had returned from Spain on March 02 and had attended the outpatient clinic on March 10 and 11.
“He got quarantined himself on March 12 and was isolated on March 14. His sample tested positive on March 15,” a source from the SCTIMST said.
According to the official from the information department, out of the 76, there are 43 medics, 18 nurses and 13 technical staff and two administrative staff.
“26 doctors are at high risk and 17 are at low risk. Additionally, 27 co-passengers of the Coronavirus infected medic will be considered as at high risk and 156 at low risk,” the source added.
The medic travelled from Doha to Kerala on March 02 by flight.
Meanwhile, the Kerala office of Union Minister V Muraleedharan has sought a report from the SCTIMST as the minister had attended a meeting there on Saturday.
Muraleedharan’s office alleged that the hospital concealed the fact that a doctor from the hospital is an infected patient.
Advocate S Suresh, BJP Kerala Secretary, told The Lede that minister's office has sought a report from the SCTIMST.
"The minister was not informed about a medic being isolated due to Coronavirus. We see it as a lapse. So his office has sought a report," Suresh said.
Muraleedharan has now gone into self quarantine at his residence in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, the official from the Kerala information department confirmed that medics, especially those working at casualty, surgery and orthopaedic departments at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College have been told to go on leave and be under self-isolation.
The official said that a patient who had returned from abroad was advised to be in house quarantine and his samples were sent for testing.
“But he went out and met with an accident. He was brought to Thiruvananthapuram medical college. He was treated. And today, the test result came as negative. However, they are an initial result. So, till the final result comes, the patient has been isolated and medics have been sent on leave details,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Mini Mohan, a sociologist, said that it is becoming a scary situation.
“Medics are isolated and sent on compulsory leave in two major hospitals in the state. Those who are admitted with other severe diseases are going to face a tough time due to a shortage of medics. Already, it has started to affect other patients. I am scared,” Mini, who works closely with both hospitals, said.
She also added that currently, Kerala is in stage 2 of the coronavirus outbreak, which is called the local transmission stage.
“We need at least 30 days to wait and see whether we will be able to contain the disease at this stage itself with our actions or are we going to move into stage 3, the community transmission stage, which is a scary one,” Mini said.
A few days ago, experts at the Indian Council of Medical Research said there were four stages of the disease.
Stage 1 is getting imported cases, stage 2 is local transmission, stage 3 is community transmission and stage 4 is when it turns into an epidemic.
On Sunday evening, Kerala launched a 'break the chain' campaign to fend off the Coronavirus spread.
Earlier in February, the state had handled an initial scare in which three students returning from China carried the virus home but were nursed back to health and discharged from hospital.
However, according to State Health Minister KK Shailaja said that there are 21 Coronavirus cases currently undergoing treatment.
Shailaja said that the government has so far been able to contain the spread because of early surveillance and people's support.
"We need to evolve personal hygiene as a healthy habit and wash our hands and face after coming into public contact. This can help break the chain of virus infection," she added.
In India, in total, coronavirus has so far infected 126 persons as of Tuesday, according to the Union health ministry. Out of the 126 cases, 17 patients are foreign nationals.
Three persons have passed away due to the disease, with one death having occurred in Karnataka’s Kalaburgi, the second in Delhi and the third in Mumbai.