Mental health counselling for quarantined persons

2,662 people are under surveillance for being in contact with the first positive case

March 12, 2020 12:50 am | Updated 12:50 am IST - Bengaluru

People at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

People at Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Living under quarantine with fears of a possible COVID-19 infection can be traumatic and this has led the State Health Department has started offering counselling to those in hospitals and isolated in homes.

District mental health counsellors are following up through telephonic counselling apart from regular follow up by surveillance teams, said Jawaid Akhtar, Additional Chief Secretary (Medical Education and Health and Family Welfare).

“While putting people in quarantine has proved to be effective in controlling epidemics, it is important that the process is sensitive enough to ensure that such people do not suffer mental agony. Due to misconceptions going around about the disease, some people think that they are going to die and such thoughts may affect their recovery,” the official said. He said the mental health counsellors will call them every day and reassure them that quarantine does not mean they are being stigmatised.

Around 2,662 people are under surveillance for being primary and secondary contacts of the first positive case. His wife and daughter also tested positive and the family has been quarantined in the State-run Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD).

B.G. Prakash Kumar, State Joint Director (Communicable Diseases) said of the 2,662 contacts of the first case, 1,865 are students of the school where the techie’s daughter studies. While all are under under surveillance (medical observation), 28 of her classmates are under home isolation,” he said.

While 46 people travelled with him on the flight from the US via Dubai, four other people he was in contact with include the driver and the driver’s family, 15 people worked with him, a few others were children the daughter played with and the remaining people in his apartment.

“A team including a medical officer has been placed at the apartment complex (containment zone) round the clock. Disinfection as per protocols have been done at all places visited by the cases since arrival in India including workplaces. Cleaning staff in the apartment complex have been trained regarding disinfection and regular cleaning advice given,” he said.

Meanwhile, no new COVID-19 cases were reported in the State on Wednesday.

All patients stable

All the four positive cases, under treatment in RGICD, have responded well to treatment and are recovering, said RGICD Director C. Nagaraj.

“While three of the four cases have no symptoms now, one has mild fever and body ache. The 46-year-old techie, who first tested positive, is recovering fast although he has pre-morbid conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. His wife and daughter are asymptomatic now,” the doctor said.

He said the hospital authorities were personally monitoring the provision of food to the quarantined patients.

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