Delhi hospitals turn COVID-19 zones; 479 medical staff test positive at AIIMS, 81 at RML, 83 at LNH

An increasing number of health workers have tested positive for <b>COVID</b>-19 in Delhi. At Lok Nayak Hospital, a dedicated facility for Coronavirus, 83 medical staff have tested positive as of June 1

Photo courtesy- social media
Photo courtesy- social media

Ashlin Mathew

An increasing number of health workers have been testing positive for COVID-19 in Delhi. At Lok Nayak Hospital—a dedicated government-run facility for Coronavirus in Delhi—83 medical staff have tested positive for COVID-19 as of June 1. At Central-government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, 81 medical staff tested positive. This is the second hospital where a cluster of medical workers have gotten infected. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, also under the central government, has had 480 COVID-19 positive cases.

The cases at LN Hospital and RML Hospital only include doctors and nurses, while the numbers from AIIMS include medical and support staff.

The highest number of cases amongst medical staffers have been seen at AIIMS. In the last one week, 53 medical workers tested positive for Covid-19, of which five were nurses, one doctor, two security staffers, 6 hospital attendants, 5 sanitation staff, 2 lab technicians, 2 administration staff and 30 other staff.

However, over the last two months 479 health care workers tested positive at the hospital. This included two faculty members, 17 doctors, 38 nurses, 74 security staff, 74 hospital attendants, 54 sanitation staff, 14 lab technicians and 206 other staff. At AIIMS, three health care workers died after testing positive for Covid-19.

Of the 81 health care workers who tested positive at central-Delhi-based RML Hospital, 18 are doctors. Of these 13 got infected by coronavirus last week. In case of nurses, 25 of the total 44 nurses tested positive last week. RML medical staffers have been admitted at AIIMS Jhajjar or at private hospitals.

“The hospital does not have separate arrangement like LN Hospital or AIIMS for its health staff. A few residents are allowed to stay in the special private wards if they test positive. A number of nurses tested positive in the last one week because of the strenuous work schedule. At the screening and triage areas, nurses are forced to wear PPEs for more than 12 hours during the night shift. It increases their vulnerability towards the virus,” pointed out a medical staff who did not want to be identified.

At Lok Nayak Hospital, in the last one week 30 nurses and an equal number of doctors tested positive for Coronavirus, taking the total tally to 83 from March onwards. National Herald had earlier reported that on May 2, 21 medical staff had tested positive at the hospital. All the LN Hospital medical staff who tested positive have been admitted at the Special Block on the premises.

As the numbers of those who tested positive at Lok Nayak Hospital and RML Hospital do not include the support staff who have been infected, the numbers of Covid-19 infected staffers are higher.

The reports of higher numbers of health care workers testing positive for coronavirus comes amidst news that the Central government informed the Supreme Court that it is the responsibility of each health care worker to adequately train themselves and take all possible measures for preventing the infection.

The Union health ministry had noted said this in a response to a petition filed by Dr Arushi Jain challenging the central government’s order on May 15 ending the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. The health ministry, absolving itself, stated that hospital infection control committees had to enforce COVID-19 prevention and control activities. The central government had called the plea “completely presumptuous, ill-founded and sans any medical evidence”. In the affidavit, the health ministry added that the petitioner had not provided any evidence to prove that despite using Personal Protective Equipment, doctors were contracting COVID-19.

The Central government, squarely blaming the health worker for contracting the virus, submitted in court that if adequate measures are observed, the health care worker’s chances of contracting the infection would not be higher than that of any other person.

In May, at least 40 medical workers at the Delhi Government-run Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar (BSA) Hospital, in West Delhi’s Rohini area, tested positive for Coronavirus. More than 40 health workers of Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, an autonomous institute under the Delhi government in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area, were quarantined after being exposed to two COVID-19 cases.

The Covid-19 positive cases have been on the rise in the national capital. As of June 3, there were 13,497 active COVID-19 cases in Delhi and the total number of cases stood at 23,645. There were 606 deaths reported by the Delhi government and 9,542 had recovered. Delhi had discovered 1,513 new cases, the highest single-day figure, and Delhi’s cases have been growing at fastest among the top three states in the country.

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