A 58-year-old sanitation supervisor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, has died, sources said. He was on ventilator and succumbed to the infection on Sunday around 7.30 pm. He was a permanent employee of AIIMS and was posted at the premier medical institute's outdoor patient department, they said.
"Another corona warrior sacrifices his life in service of the country," Dr Srinivas Rajkumar T, general secretary, AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association, tweeted with the hashtag 'IndiaFightsCOVID19'.
"AIIMS has lost its proud warrior. The virus is dangerous, very communicable and doesn't spare anyone," he said.
Kuldeep Dhigan, general secretary, AIIMS SC/ST Employees' Welfare Association, alleged that the supervisor had developed fever and mild respiratory discomfort following which he got himself examined at the AIIMS on May 16.
"As his case did not fulfil the criteria for testing, he was not tested for COVID-19. He underwent routine blood tests, was counselled and briefed about the precautions to be taken and sent back home," he alleged.
Due to sudden worsening of symptoms, the supervisor was taken to the Emergency on May 19, Dhigan claimed.
"He had breathing difficulties and was hospitalised. He was then tested for COVID-19 and the results came out to be positive," he said.
The sanitation supervisor was then shifted to the Trauma Centre, which has been converted into a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, he said.
"All frontline workers like us who have high risk of exposure due to handling of hazardous biomedical waste during the cleaning process should be tested even at slightest suspicion," Dhigan said.
Srinivas remarked that the threshold for testing should be further lowered for individuals working in high risk locations like hospitals and those who may suffer inadvertent exposure to the virus despite taking adequate precautions like surveillance staff and police personnel.
“We are going to have a high level meeting with the director tomorrow discuss issues pertaining to the safety of healthcare workers at the institute," he said.
Last week, a mess worker at the AIIMS from RPC canteen succumbed to COVID-19.