Mumbai's Hinduja Hospital on Friday quarantined 82 staff members who were in close contact with the patient, and their 14 relatives a day after a 64-year-old patient was diagnosed with the coronavirus. The patient has been shifted to Kasturba Gandhi Hospital’s quarantine facility.
According to media reports, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the hospital broke the protocol by admitting a patient with symptoms of coronavirus. According to the protocol of the central health department, private hospitals aren’t allowed to treat patients with the symptoms of coronavirus. All suspected patients need to be referred to the municipal Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, which has the Union Health Ministry approved isolation ward.
BMC sources said the patient, who had travelled to Dubai, was admitted to the private hospital on March 8, after he complained of uneasiness. As his condition didn’t improve after two days of treatment and he started showing symptoms of coronavirus with fever, cold and breathlessness, the hospital informed the civic body. On March 12, his samples tested positive for the virus.
BMC officials said the negligence has put several hospital staffers at risk.
Of the staffers, eight contacts are isolated at Hinduja Hospital. Seventy-four will be in home isolation for 14 days. Of the 14 relatives, seven are quarantined in Kasturba Hospital and seven in home isolation. Five surveillance teams have surveyed 460 houses, but no symptoms were found. Dr Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer, BMC, said, “If anyone is found positive of the virus, we will quarantine them at Kasturba Hospital.”
Civic officials have fumigated the ward where the patient was admitted, and all patients have been shifted to upper floors of the hospital. The hospital is not allowing anyone inside the hospital without patient visiting cards.
A hospital spokesperson said, “In spite of following all precautionary measures as per government guidelines, one of the admitted patients in the hospital was tested positive for Covid-19. In view of this, the hospital has been following the advice of the concerned team at MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) and based their advice all protocols were activated. As per guidelines, the patient was shifted to Kasturba Hospital. The hospital is taking all necessary steps to ensure safety of its medical, non- medical staff and patients as per government guidelines.”
In a meeting held on Friday, the BMC called upon all the representatives of private hospitals and provided them a new guideline to follow. Following this, private hospitals in the city have come up with new patient screening policies to detect suspected patients at entry points.
Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital was one of the first to begin with universal screening of patients in Mumbai. Dr Tarang Gianchandani, CEO of the hospital, said, “This screening will help identify all suspected cases of coronavirus and will isolate them immediately from other people right at the entrance. We are screening the patients at the entry point and dividing them as per symptoms and travel history and contacts with people having travel history. We are also quarantining our staff if they have any travel history.”
Similarly, Global Hospital has decided to restrict patient visitors. “If there are any high-risk patients, we ask them to fill a questionnaire to check if they have the coronavirus,” said Dr Prashant Borade, head-Critical Care of the hospital.
Jitendra Haryan, CEO of Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre said staffers showing any symptoms like fever, cold, cough or running nose are asked to work from home.