Coping with a COVID-19 hotspot

Bhilwara sees massive screening after outbreak in hospital

March 25, 2020 11:31 pm | Updated 11:31 pm IST - JAIPUR

A curfew in force for the sixth consecutive day. A massive screening exercise involving 1,500 health workers. Four fresh cases, taking the total number of infected patients to 17. Bhilwara, considered the hub of textile manufacturing in Rajasthan, has grabbed national attention following a number of positive cases of COVID-19 being detected at a private hospital in the city.

The sheer number of people being screened in Bhilwara, after the administration sealed the district’s borders and imposed curfew much before a lockdown was announced in the entire State, has made it possibly the biggest exercise in the country.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in Bhilwara occurred last week from the private hospital where a doctor tested positive after he admitted a patient with pneumonia in the ICU earlier this month. The patient, who was allegedly carrying the virus, later died at a hospital in Jaipur.

Doctors, staff infected

Two medicos and several members of the hospital’s paramedical staff were subsequently found positive after multiple testing. The hospital was sealed and its 88 patients were shifted to other health facilities, while contact tracing was undertaken to find out hundreds of people who had come to the outpatient department for consultation.

The doctors and staff are among the 38 persons being kept in the isolation wards of Mahatma Gandhi Government Hospital and a few other health facilities. Bhilwara Chief Medical and Health Officer Mushtaq Khan told The Hindu that the doctor who first tested positive and his wife, who was also infected, have been shifted to Jaipur.

As many as 5,392 persons in Bhilwara have been told to quarantine themselves at home. The rapid response teams, which were rushed from Udaipur, are assisting the local health workers in covering about half of the city’s 6 lakh population in the first phase.

After the lockdown in the city, the administration has turned its attention to the rural areas as three persons showing symptoms of the disease were found roaming in the villages. Nine villages in Mandal tehsil were placed under curfew as a precautionary measure after it was found that the villagers had earlier visited the hospital in Bhilwara.

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