Hospitals can be ‘super spreaders’ of virus

People queue up outside a COVID-19 testing facility at Shree Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital.   | Photo Credit: Hemani Bhandari

In what can be called a gist of the situation at city hospitals, a family has been waiting at a government hospital to get COVID-19 tests for two days, while at another one, people are worried if the hospital itself will become a “super spreader” as non-infected and potentially infected stand together.

Dinesh Gupta, a 42-year-old autorickshaw driver, residing in Mohan Garden, sat with his wife and 14-year-old daughter on a table outside the COVID-19 facility at Deen Dayal Upadhayay (DDU) Hospital. He had waited for eight hours both on Wednesday and Thursday to get the tests done.

“I have been having high fever, cold, cough and difficulty in breathing for the last five days. Both my children and wife have the same symptoms. I came to the hospital around 7 a.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday, but they told me to come the next day every time,” he said.

Mr. Gupta said that on Wednesday, over 200 people queued up for test at DDU and he was told that only 150 tests were to be conducted. “Out of those 150, they only conducted 40-50 tests of common people. The rest were of staffers and their families,” he alleged.

He also said that they could not get the test done on Thursday as well despite reaching at 7 a.m. “Once again, our turn did not come. We are waiting in the hope that they will listen to us. There is no value for a normal person’s life,” he said.

Mounting complaints

Kuldeep Kaur (35), a resident of Tilak Nagar, faced the same problem and alleged that two dispensaries near her house refused to conduct the test. “My situation is getting worse by the day. Here also [DDU Hospital], they are asking us to go from one counter to the other but nothing is happening,” she said.

Another person, who identified himself as Deepak Gogia (30), a resident of Tagore Garden, said: “They keep showing on TV that tests are being conducted at all times, but this is the situation. I don’t know where to complain regarding this,” he said.

A security guard at DDU Hospital, who did not wish to be identified, said that 150 RT-PCR tests are being conducted every day from 9.30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

However, a Delhi government spokesperson claimed that in Delhi government hospitals, COVID-19 tests are scheduled in the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m slot.

Another COVID-19 testing facility at Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital saw a pool of people standing close to each other. People who are infected and those who are not were standing side by side.

Explaining the process, a person said that first they have to procure a slip mentioning their details for the test. Next, they have to reach the premises where rapid tests are conducted and submit the slip to an official. “They enter our details and return the slips. When the official comes out with the slips, they gather around him as they are not sure if their turn has come,” said Hari Krishan (45), an LIC employee, who had come with his daughter.

People then queue up and wait for rapid test. “People who are positive and those who are not stand next to each other. They also wait in the same area for the results. When the official, who had given them slips earlier, arrives and hands the results over, people start jumping and pushing,” he said.

Laxmi Makhwani, a 21-year-old housewife who had come for test, said that those who test positive wait in the same premises to consult a doctor, who sits next to the room where entries are made. “I am afraid that hospitals could become ‘super spreader’ of the virus,” she said.

People across the Capital are facing problems in booking tests in private labs, which they say are overloaded with samples.

‘No social distancing’

A security guard, who did not wish to be identified, said that people don’t listen despite warnings and alerts on social distancing.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 2:04:18 PM |

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