A number of senior administrative officials in Bhagalpur have tested positive for the coronavirus, crippling the day-to-day government work in the district, sources said. Deputy Superintendent of the state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital (JLNMCH) Gaurav Kumar said Saturday that Bhagalpur Divisional Commissioner Vandana Kini is the latest to test positive for the virus on Friday, following which she has gone into self-quarantine.
She joins a long list of the infected officials, including District Magistrate Pranav Kumar, Deputy Development Commissioner Sunil Kumar Singh and Additional District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar Jha.
Other senior officials like District Education Officer Sanjay Kumar Singh and District Project Manager (Health) Mohammad Faiyaz Alam, and Superintendent of JLNMCH Dr Ashok Bhagat besides half-a-dozen other doctors of the medical college have been found infected.
The situation is a little better in the police department.
Though Superintendent of Police Ashish Bharti is safe, his four security guards have tested positive following which he has been working from his residential office, sources in the police department said.
Gaurav Kumar, who is looking after the affairs of JLNMCH in the absence of the Superintendent, said Kini is among 901 people found positive for the virus on Friday.
The divisional commissioner and other senior officers of the district administration who have been infected by COVID-19 have been keeping themselves in isolation at their respective homes.
Bhagalpur, known for its unique silk fabrics called "Tussah or Tusser", stands second to Patna in terms of number of COVID cases across Bihar.
Bhagalpur has a caseload of 1,455 cases while Patna has 3,245, according to a health department bulletin.
As per the bulletin, the total number of positive cases has reached 24,997 in the state.
District Magistrate Pranav Kumar, whose wife and children too have been infected, is being treated in Patna.
The DM had tested positive on July 11 at JLNMCH, after which he handed over the charge to ADM Rajesh Kumar Jha who along with DDC and other officials also tested positive two days later (on July 13).
The absence of the senior district civil administration officers has hit even the daily routine work, official sources said.
District Public Grievance Redressal Officer Arun Kumar Singh, who is holding the charge of District Magistrate, Bhagalpur, said he has been disposing of daily work.
But the financial work has been hampered as there is no one equivalent to the rank of DM available presently in the district to take the charge.