Two BMC control room staffers test positive; Mayor quarantines self

Lockdown patrol: Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh is accompanied by other officers during a flag march at Dharavi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: RaviNadar

As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) tackles the COVID-19 outbreak, two employees of its disaster control room have tested positive for the virus. Besides, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar on Monday decided to self-quarantine for 14 days as she came in contact with a COVID-19-positive journalist.

Ms. Pednekar’s test result is negative and the measure is precautionary. Her staff will also work from the Mayor’s Bungalow.

Meanwhile, a doctor and a ward boy from the TB Hospital in Sewri tested positive on Sunday, taking the total number of infected staff in the hospital to three. Another ward boy, who was a resident of Navi Mumbai, was the first to test positive. Medical superintendent Dr. Lalitkumar Anande said 45 Class IV workers and 24 nurses have been quarantined. As many as 100 TB patients are under close watch.

The civic-run ENT Hospital in Fort has also reported 13 positive staff members.

Neither of the BMC disaster control room employees had symptoms, but had themselves tested during a health check-up, and the results were positive. Both have been moved to a COVID-19 care centre as per protocol for asymptomatic people.

The control room and the BMC headquarters, where it is located, have been disinfected. The disaster control room will continue to function with the existing staff, who will be isolated in the room. Employees who were supposed to replace them for the new shift will now work from the second control room at Parel.

The disaster control room has been playing a crucial role in the BMC’s COVID-19 response, especially in looking for violation of social distancing rules, and cannot be shut down.

Earlier, the officer running the fire brigade control room and three others had tested positive. A civic employees’ union has written to Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi to test all municipal staffers, such as conservancy workers and water supply, sewerage, pest control and health department staff, due to their high exposure.

According to its new protocol, the BMC is not testing asymptomatic high-risk contacts immediately. Asymptomatic people in general are not being tested. Asymptomatic positive people are not supposed to be hospitalised either.

Non-COVID cases moved

The civic-run Nair Hospital, meanwhile, is all set to become a COVID-19 hospital with an initial 250 isolation beds and 30 intensive care unit beds. The facility will be expanded in phases.

On Monday, the hospital started shifting non-COVID-19 patients to other civic hospitals. “One building in the hospital will only admit COVID-19 patients. An isolation facility has certain requirements and all those will be followed,” said Dr. Mohan Joshi, who has been appointed the new head of the COVID-19 hospital. Dr. Joshi, who is the dean of Sion Hospital, was put in-charge of SevenHills Hospital, which was converted into a COVID-19 hospital last month. He has now been tasked to work on similar lines at the Nair Hospital.

Nair Hospital is attached to the TN Medical College and is one of the three main tertiary care civic hospitals after KEM and Sion. At present, the hospital has nearly 200 non-COVID patients. “We have shifted some to another building temporarily. Some have been shifted to other hospitals,” said Dr. Ramesh Bharmal, director of major civic hospitals, adding that the process will be completed in a few days.

Dr. Bharmal, who is also the dean of the hospital, said there will be a maternity ward for pregnant women who have tested positive.

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Printable version | Jul 27, 2021 7:20:54 AM |

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